Students broadcast creativity in TV-production program
POSTED: Monday, February 16, 2009
High school is about finding your calling, what you might be willing to spend the rest of your life doing. It opens doors and gives you a taste of the world. It's a place to discover yourself.
KAISER HIGH SCHOOL
The Cougar Connection
Kaiser High School is exceptional in that the staff is always looking for ways to improve in the classroom and to help the student body as a whole. For a public school, its teachers are remarkably passionate about their jobs. Like any high school, Kaiser offers a wide variety of choices ranging from dramatic acting to student leadership to college biology.
One of the most creative programs offered is the Communication Arts and Technology (CAT) Learning Center, where students have ventured into the world of television production for the past 20 years, garnering awards for their efforts along the way.
In preparation for the recent Hono- lulu City and County Earth Month Teen Video Contest, students used chroma key, a filmmaking technique for mixing two images or frames together, to create talking objects like fish, trash cans and rubber gloves. In one piece, freshman Woo Ho Song used Adobe Flash to create facial expressions for talking rubber gloves.
"To see your piece finally finished is the most rewarding part of creating it," said junior Ishay Craig.
The video classes in the Learning Center are taught by Shannon McMonagle with the assistance of computer programming consultant Milton Shak. Together they offer opportunities for students who can study as script writers, producers, directors, camera operators, actors or motion graphics designers.
"We produce public service announcements, short documentaries and short narratives," said junior Mike Kim. "There's something here for everyone."
Any amateur director knows the best way to get into the business is to get involved in a show that has already started. The CAT Learning Center gives students this opportunity with the guidance of professional mentors and the advantage of guest speakers and field trips relating to the business.
Two professional mentors include former Kaiser graduate Jason Suapaia, president of Pacific Focus Inc., and director Ryan Kawamoto of Kinetic Productions. For 10 years these two have volunteered to judge student work that is showcased each May at the "aCATemy" Awards, a ceremony like the Oscars with awards for categories including best writer, best cinematographer and best picture.
"Another source of professional mentoring comes from our partnership with 'Olelo Community Television," McMonagle said. "We are so fortunate to have their continued support."
The 'Olelo mentors, among them Tom Hackett at the Palolo/Kaimuki center and Gigi Miranda and Jennifer Nakamura at the Mapunapuna center, train students with the mobile television production van several times throughout the year. It gives students a chance to run a program on their own.
CAT students also contribute their work to "Kaiser High Presents," a public-access television show which has run continuously since 1994. It is broadcast every Sunday at 7 p.m. on Oceanic Time Warner Cable channel 56 and is a great way to give students an islandwide audience and share their work with family and friends.
"One of the best things in CAT is that we learn not only from our mentors, but from each other as well," said junior Alex Herpst. "That way, if one person figures out how to do something on Final Cut or Motion, everyone in the class learns. It's like a network of people who keep contributing to a higher cause." That cause is to develop promising prospects for these lifelong learners.