2018-04-29 / Insight

Ed-Tech digital media arts students head to Dallas to compete in nationals

BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com


Lapeer High School senior Allen Thorp works behind the camera inside the Ed-Tech Digital Media Arts studio. 
Photo by Nicholas Pugliese Lapeer High School senior Allen Thorp works behind the camera inside the Ed-Tech Digital Media Arts studio. Photo by Nicholas Pugliese ATTICA TWP. — Two Lapeer County high school students representing Jennie Holladay’s Digital Media Arts class at the Lapeer County Education and Technology Center (Ed-Tech) are headed to Dallas in two weeks to compete in the Business Professionals of America (BPA) National Convention.

The program’s broadcast news team, comprised of seniors Elena Guerrero of Imlay City and Savannah Wixson of Almont, took first place at the state contest in Grand Rapids, and as a result, will be heading to Dallas for the National Conference in May.

Guerrero and Wixson, along with their teacher Holladay, headed to Lapeer on Thursday to present details about their program and upcoming trip to Texas to the Lapeer Optimist Club, and according to Holladay, the trip will provide the students with an invaluable opportunity to gain experience in the career field they’re interested in. “We try to give them an opportunity for real world experience and to compete against other students from all over the country,” she said. “It’s a competitive job market.”


Imlay City senior Elena Guerrero and Almont senior Savannah Wixson will be heading to Dallas in May to compete in the Business Professionals of America National Conference in the category of broadcast news. 
Photo by Nicholas Pugliese Imlay City senior Elena Guerrero and Almont senior Savannah Wixson will be heading to Dallas in May to compete in the Business Professionals of America National Conference in the category of broadcast news. Photo by Nicholas Pugliese It’s a job market that they both say they’re planning to enter, as well. Guerrero will be headed to Northern Michigan University next year to focus on multimedia journalism, while Wixson has plans to enroll at Macomb County Community College to major in journalism. “It’s definitely something we both plan to pursue,” said Guerrero.

One major difference between the pair’s regular work on the Ed-Tech news show The Edge and what they’ll be asked to do in Dallas is time. “For us to compete at Nationals we have to produce a video there,” said Guerrero. “Normally we get three to four days (at Ed-Tech), but for Nationals we’ll have three hours, so we’ve been practicing that.”

And since the pair will be competing against teams comprised of three or more students, efficiency is key, and Guerrero and Wixson have been able to gain experience through Holladay’s program in all areas of broadcast news production, from writing, to filming, to being an anchor. Holladay is a former producer for Channel 4 News, and thanks to her industry knowledge, the students in her program know exactly what to expect.

“They’re producing just like they would at a station in Detroit, just a little bit longer of a deadline,” said Holladay. “My (class) is very self-driven, there’s a little friction sometimes but they work through that. They know what I’m going to think and they self-edit each other.”

The primary project students participate in is The Edge – Ed-Tech’s personalized news show. Students like Guerrero and Wixson are responsible for all aspects of the production, starting with pre-production and planning. “We sit down and talk about what stories we’re going to do,” said Guerrero. “We have to pitch our stories and plan for how to do them.” Segments in the past have been a look at the HVAC classroom at Ed-Tech and a focus on the connection between the school and local food bank Stone Soup.

From there, assignments in hand, the teams get to work, tackling segments highlighting the goings-on at Ed-Tech, as well as occasionally analyzing stories of a national interest.

“We put together our appointments and locations, look at backgrounds that will work for the piece, and film our footage,” said Wixson. And they’ve got the top equipment of the trade with which to work. “Canons, tripods, laptops, audio equipment, microphones, cables, everything we could possibly need is provided at Ed-Tech,” said Guerrero.

Next, students head to the editing room, piecing together the segment package, recording voiceover work and crafting chyrons (textbased graphics that will appear onscreen). “All those graphics onscreen, we do all of that at Ed-Tech, that all gets put into the final product,” said Wixson. Then, after a few tweaks and a final once-over, the video is uploaded onto the class’s YouTube channel, which can be found at www.youtube.com/user/LapeerEdTechDMA.

Guerrero and Wixson typically have the better part of a week to pull everything together, but if they’re able to make it past the preliminary stage of competition in Dallas, where they’ll be up against more than 100 teams from across the country, they’ll only have a few hours. But they’re ready, they said.

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