Nikki Carlson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Six Havre High School students were required to create 30-second Public Service Announcements for their final project in media class this year. They never thought that their projects would hit the big screen and earn them top honors at the Yellow Bus Creations Hi-Line Documentary Film Festival Sunday afternoon. Sophomore Tabitha Myers and junior Kayla Knowlton were partners and won first-place for their PSA, "Tackling Drugs, Saving Lives." Myers and Knowlton admitted that this was their first documentary. They said they were thrilled that they won first-place knowing that there were adults' entries they had competed against. "It feels good because you know that out of everybody, you were the best," Knowlton said. Myers and Knowlton chose their topic because of a close friend of Knowlton's who had died of substance abuse. Myers and Knowlton also won $50 from Yellow Bus Creations for their first-ever documentary. Sophomores Trevor Dees and Haley Lippy earned second-place for their PSA, "Will You Live To Tell Your Story," about falling asleep while driving. Dees said a friend of his got into an accident after falling asleep at the wheel. Dees and Lippy were given $25 from Yellow Bus Creations, for their first-time ever documentary. Seniors Brittany Ennis and Tanya Westbrook took home a third-place plaque for their PSA, "Help Us, Help You," about a therapeutic riding program available in Havre. Westbrook said she got the idea for their topic from a HHS 2007 graduate, Molly Proctor, who had volunteered for the program, and after a bit of research Ennis and Westbrook discovered that there was a need for more volunteers at the program. "It felt good (to win)," Ennis said. "I was shocked." "We really didn't even think we would do well," Westbrook said. Ennis and Westbrook received a gift basket of incense, soaps and candles from Julie's Hallmark & Antiques. The students' media teacher, Vicki Proctor, was impressed that her students took home three plaques from the film festival, especially since this was the first time HHS had submitted entries to the second-annual event. "It was great seeing all of them on the big screen," Proctor said. "I felt really proud of them. My heart raced a little bit for them." Proctor said the 2007 Film Festival inspired her to get her students into the community and check out its resources. She asked the Yellow Bus Creations coordinators at the beginning of the school year if they could include a PSA/Commercial category in this year's film festival. She was very grateful that her request was carried out because her students learned a great deal from the project. "They really encouraged my kids," she said. "I jumped out on a hope and a prayer. "As a teacher, this was a way to authentically assess what my kids can do and this film festival does that." She said her students prepared their PSAs in one month, which included learning about camera angles and different perspectives, storyboarding their documentaries, three-point lighting techniques, some of the legalities of creating a documentary, writing scripts, making contacts, familiarizing themselves with the camera and Lighting equipment, shooting their footage and editing their projects through software called Pinnacle. Proctor said copies of the students' PSAs can be made by the organizations that were represented in their documentaries for commercial time on television if desired. Proctor added that it was the students' wishes to keep the plaques at the school. Rob Everingham of Beartooth News helped the students with on-location shoots and throughout their projects. The future is looking bright for HHS's media students, and this is only the beginning. Now Proctor's students are working on a promotional commercial for Montana State University- Northern's College of Technical Sciences to help them recruit new students. Proctor added that her Media II students air a 15-minute news broadcast every Thursday during fourth-period called "Blue Pony News." "We're the only school in the state that shows (the program) to the entire building," she said.