Natchez-Adams School District technology students excel at state competition

Published 12:07 am Sunday, April 9, 2017

By Christian Coffman

NATCHEZ — A film focusing on fake news brought real accolades to a group of Natchez technology students.

The Fallin Chapter of the Technology Student Association placed second in digital video production and was named a finalist in music production at the state TSA convention in Tupelo.

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Fallin Technology Center teacher Laveria Green said the win was a great achievement for her students.

“They showed up and showed out,” Green said. “This chapter has been active for three years and has placed well for the last two.”

The team from the Natchez-Adams School District competed against approximately 2,000 students at the state level.

With their wins, the team will now compete at the National TSA convention on June 25-29 in Orlando.

Team members include, juniors Markell White, Shantel Berry, Devin Gines, Robert Alexander, Byron Nobel, Zachary Barnes, Morgan Banks and Joshua Harvey, and seniors Kobe Dixon, Nigel Dent and team president Donisha Edwards.

The competition winners said they competed as a team but were split into two categories, having to create portfolios for music production and digital video production.

For the digital video production, the students were challenged to create a video on social media and digital citizenship.

“The issue we could relate to the most was fake news on the Internet,” Berry said. “Once we had all our shots together, we created our storyboard so that we could have everything we wanted in our scenes.”

The title of the video the team made was “Faked Out.” The video featured students from Fallin getting caught up in a lie being spread on social media, with a message at the end reminding viewers to not trust every piece of information online.

“You need to know your limits and your boundaries when it comes to the Internet,” Barnes said.

The portfolio requirements for digital video production included a storyboard, script, digital video script, a list of hardware and software, a list of references, permission letters, student copyright checklist, consent and release forms, a plan of their work log and the DVD’s. The team used Final Cut Pro software to edit the video.

“I made a lot of bloopers,” Gines said. “At the end of the film I did a crazy thing where I ran off into a field and jumped up and clicked my heels together.”

The fun and laughter did not come without hard work and unexpected challenges.

“Working with the extras was the hardest part,” Berry said. “They wouldn’t cooperate when we needed them too. We had to reshoot scenes a lot. Editing was very strenuous too.”

Local documentary filmmaker Mark LaFrancis provided the students with film equipment to support the team.

“It was an honor to work with such fine young men and women at Fallin,” LaFrancis said. “I see potential in all of them as possible filmmakers.”

Members of the team agreed that waiting on the results of the competition was the most nerve wracking part of the competition, but meeting different students from other districts was a fun and interesting experience.

Back home, team members said they felt good about the tournament.

“We were rewarded for our hard work,” Berry said.

“Everybody enjoyed doing it too,” Gines added.