During a four-day trip to Seattle, 12 video production students from Castaic Middle School were part of a group that garnered four awards at the 2019 Student Television Network Awards.
“The STN is a group of affiliated schools that teach kids broadcast journalism and general video production,” said Ro Osano, CMS’s video production teacher. “And this year, we took home one first place, one second place and two honorable mentions.”
The first-place award was given to seventh-graders Izabella Barraza, Amanda Lee and Dunston Leogo in the news anchoring category; the second-place award was given to seventh-grader Hailey Federico and Barraza; both honorable mentions, in the promo and short movie categories, were given to the films’ producer, CMS eighth-grader Andrea Rubio, according to her teacher.
“We took 13 kids and signed up for a total of 10 competitions — the max amount,” Osano said of the event, held on the final weekend of March. “And the kids were in heaven when they won … everybody was cheering and clapping.”
The CMS video production program has been going to the STN Awards since 2008, and every year, the event is basically broken down into a series of competitions, with students having either a whole day or a few hours to complete their project from start to finish.
“In the first day, the teams that compete create one of their normal school shows, but you have eight hours to do it and submit it,” said Osano. “And then, there’s two days of competition where teams have entered competitions with categories like anchoring, editing and for the middle schools short film, public service announcements and spot features.”
On the final day, the awards are announced, and Castaic Middle School’s performance this year against schools from across the country was particularly impressive to their teacher, he said.
“So many schools won this year, many of them I hadn’t even heard of before … which means the competition is getting tougher,” said Osano. “So, to us, whenever we get multiple awards, it’s a success.”
When they were not competing, Osano said his students were either traveling around Seattle, eating in local restaurants or visiting with the students and chaperones of their sister school and fellow STN competitor, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School from Hawaii.
“Some of the kids have known each other for years (between the two schools), they’ll help each other out during the competitions … and sit together during the awards ceremony.”
“The STN awards bring recognition to our program, recognize the work of the kids and how much they have been preparing for it,” said Osano. “But not only to do well, they have fun.”