GREAT FALLS — Great Falls High School is teaching students the ins and outs of working behind the camera in their video production classes.
The students in Mr. Kelly Wiles' independent study program have been learning all aspects of video production for three years. Now the students are working with the Great Falls community to create public service announcements for United Way, Great Falls Public Library, and Great Falls Public Schools.
“The real value beyond career tech skills and employability is their connection to the community. Their ability to use what they know technically, digitally to support their community, make relationships, interact with professionals, that really is making them not just career-ready but citizenship-ready as well,” said Wiles.
Working with the community has been fulfilling for students.
“Really amazing opportunity to have this class in high school because it not only teaches you how to work a camera and how to edit, but also be involved in the community,” said student Emirae Rupnow.
“With these PSAs we reach out to a lot of organizations and make videos for them and help them out. It kind of sparked this interest for me in volunteering and just helping out the community more and learning more about our community as well,” said student Nathan Korick about how he’s been inspired by the work he’s done with the community.
For student Faith Navarro, learning skills in production has sparked a passion for video that she hopes to make into a career: “When I first came to this class it really helped me realize what I wanted to do for my career. Without this class I don’t know what I would be deciding to do. It’s helped me realize that I want something bigger. I want to see the big picture and get it out for other people to see. It really inspires me to pursue film-making and editing as my career choice.”
Students learn to build a conceptual idea, shoot video, conduct interviews, direct, and edit a story to completion.
Student Zane Lambert says that dedication helped him realize the beauty is in the details: “It really shows how good of a thing you can make if you just commit to it. Stick with it over time and stay persistent at it. I mean we’ve had to come after school and edit and we’ve had to spend countless hours getting extra footage - just this one little shot that we need to get. It takes up a lot of time but it’s definitely worth it.”
The students are currently working on a documentary about the DA Davidson Auditorium renovation gift. The students are also working on their own original films to submit in the Bison Film Festival in June.