China Grove Middle students create top video

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 5, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
SPENCER — More than 100 students recently tried their hand at filmmaking.
Using iMovie, iPhoto and a variety of digital cameras, academically and intellectually gifted (AIG) eighth-graders from all seven of the middle schools in Rowan County created a two-minute video.
“This is our push to get technology into the schools and to utilize what pieces we already have there,” Gina Durham, AIG lead teacher, said. “It’s also getting students more familiar with the technology.”
Students were asked to select a topic based on the theme “Making the World a Better Place.”
Kelly Feimster, director of AIG services, said that theme ties into the eighth-grade curriculum in which students learn about utopia.
Students produced films on topics including anorexia, drunk driving, racism, hunger and the environment.
Each school was allowed to submit up to three videos to appear in a film festival.
Students attended the festival Tuesday at North Rowan High School, where they had an opportunity to see their work and that of their peers.
Ryan Turney, from China Grove Middle School, said he was impressed with the videos his peers produced.
“There wasn’t one video that didn’t deserve an award,” he said.
After the viewing ended, students had the opportunity to vote for best sound, cinematography, screenplay, editing, documentary, drama, teaching and learning and best picture.
The votes were cast instantly using an “active vote” remote control.
Feimster said Phil Harden, the district’s technology director, and two representatives from Promethean, a classroom technology company, were on hand to facilitate the voting process.
“And they did it for free,” she said. “That’s about 200 active votes that we wouldn’t have been able to have.”
The winners were announced in Academy Award-type fashion with students taking the red carpet to receive their golden trophies.
A group from China Grove Middle School took home the top prize of best picture.
The eighth-graders also snagged the award for best screenplay and cinematography.
The group included Turney, Cameron Barringer, Sarah Barnhardt, Laura Crawley, Kaitlyn Mangum, Jesse Sartain, Dakota Stevens, Aaron Rousey, Andrew Poe, Austin Pinion and Ruby Ortiz.
Their video, titled “Bullying — It Ends Tonight,” focuses on different forms of bullying and what to do about it.
Crawley said coming up with the topic was easy.
“Bullying is a big problem for schools and especially for kids our age,” she said. “We decided to do it because we thought it would be something people can relate to.”
Turney said the video breaks down stereotypes associated with bullying.
“We wanted to show that bullying can happen anywhere, not just in the classroom and the cafeteria,” he said.
Barringer said the group spent more than a week working on the project for about an hour each day.
“It’s more difficult than you think it would be,” he said. “We probably put more time into editing than anything else.”
But despite the hard work, the students say it was a good experience.
“It’s probably the most fun I’ve had with an educational thing ever,” Barringer said. “I’d like to do it again.”
Durham said although this is the first time the AIG department has hosted a film festival, it could become an annual event.
“It was a really good learning experience for them,” she said. “It might be a repeat for us.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.

And the winner is…
Best Sound — Corriher-Lipe Middle School
Best Cinematography — China Grove Middle School
Best Screenplay — China Grove Middle School
Best Editing — Erwin Middle School
Best Documentary — Corriher-Lipe Middle School
Best Drama — West Rowan Middle School
Best Teaching and Learning — Knox Middle School
Best Picture — China Grove Middle School