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Gaither TV Wins National Video Contest!

January 30, 2020 - Student Success

Gaither High School television production students are celebrating a first place finish in The Student Television Network (STN) Film and Broadcast Challenge. The nationwide video contest challenges students to complete a video challenge in less than a week with no assistance from teachers. 

​It all starts with television students across the country receiving the same prompt, or assignment, from STN. From there, students have just six days to submit their video.

“Pretty much, within thirty seconds of learning their prompts, it turns into chaos. The students start groaning about the prompt or wondering how they’re going to do it in six days,” explained Julia Pappacoda, Gaither High’s TV Production teacher.

As it turns out, four Gaither Television Production students were able to complete the prompt—overcoming all of the schedule conflicts and technical difficulties destined to occur during a production. Their sports feature earned first place in this highly competitive broadcast challenge.

“We set up all the interviews (the first day) and really didn’t get moving forward until the second day,” explained student producer, Eric Hopkins. “A teammate and I stayed until very late to finish the project. I’m glad we did though because, well, we won!”

Tasked with creating a sports feature titled Second Windthe students told the story of a peer who recently transferred to Gaither.

“We chose Sammie Lee—he’s a football player who wasn’t doing well in school,” explained student producer, Julian West. “Mom is in jail and his dad has never been around for him.”

Finding a student willing to share his or her story presented a challenge of its own but the biggest challenge was finding time to schedule interviews.

“Sammie had classes and he had practice he had to go to. We had to schedule that and then go out and record matching b-roll footage of him,” said camera operator, Jonathan Gavula.

The group’s persistence paid off. They recorded the feature and spent the final two days editing—staying as late as 7pm in the school’s studio to complete their project.

“I was a little concerned that the voice over could have been better,” said student reporter, Nicholas Loos. “For the most part, I thought it turned out great."

STN is the nation’s premier organization for broadcast and film programs. It consists of hundreds of school “affiliates”—including powerhouse programs ranging from Miami, Carlsbad, California and Waianae, Hawaii.

In addition to inspiring her TV Production students, Ms. Pappacoda credits contests such as the STN Challenge for providing the real-world skills they need to be ready for any career.

“They need to know how to turn something in by a deadline and have a polite conversation with adults or people they have never met before,” explained Ms. Pappacoda. “These competitions give the kids those skills they will have to have in order to be successful after high school.”

Gaither students are not the only ones from Hillsborough Schools to receive recognition from STN. Students from Blake High (Jackson Ring, Eva Erhardt, Tate Zeller, Logan Rowe) earned 2nd place for their Short Film and Isabellarose Lamb, Grace Barnett, Chloe Brogan, Melissa Ponce earned Honorable Mention for their News Feature.


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