Skills competition opens further doors

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Picture Butte High School student Cayley Secrist checks out a different angle during a promotional video shoot.  

PICTURE BUTTE – Learning the skills is a must, but getting the chance to use them is crucial when it comes to videography.

Students Cayley Secrist and Luke Loman have been offered both in Picture Butte High School’s media class and that has led to even more doors opening for them.

Not only did they gain valuable hands-on experience at the Southwest Regional Skills Canada Competition, their first-place finish in video production earned the Grade 10 students a paying gig in the form of a promotional video shoot.

Mark Lowe, PBHS principal and media instructor, says videography is all about learning through trial and error.

“Such an excellent idea from Skills Canada not just to award them money, but to award them contracts to start experiencing the possible fields of work they are competing in,” he says. “This could open up a whole career path for them, if they really wanted to.”

The Regional Skills competition (see other Palliser results below) provided a challenge in that students had to produce a video showcasing the event for a specific audience and have it ready to be judged in under six hours.

“I think the toughest part was just the time constraint and figuring out how we were going to split up to film and edit and get it done on time,” says Secrist.

Loman says they didn’t go in with any great expectations since it was the first Skills competition for both of them.  No one was more surprised than them when organizers played the winning video and they first saw the PBHS logo flash up on the screen.

The winning pair earned a contract to produce a video for Ironworkers Local 725 to promote a three-month training program for high school students.  Both students received $500 for their work, which includes shooting video footage and interviews.

“It’s great because it gives you extra experience and an opportunity to try something new,” says Loman, adding he and Secrist will make numerous trips to the worksite to shoot video. “It’s lots of the same stuff, so the challenge is finding different angles and ways to shoot.”

Secrist, now in her second year with the program, says she first took the media class because it was something she could tackle at her own pace and there is a certain degree of independence in the projects they shoot.

“I really like it. It’s probably my favourite option class,” she says.

Secrist plans on sticking with the course through Grade 12, and with no career path plotted out to date, she says she’s open to any job opportunities in video that might arise.

Loman is in his first year at PBHS and in the media class, although he took related courses in his previous school.

“I like doing it just for fun. Just to mess around and create things,” he says.

This is the third year Picture Butte High School has offered the media class. Lowe says the goal is to expose students to a possible career path and provide them with the skills required to create professional-quality videos.

Not only has he seen students taking on and mastering increasingly complex techniques, he says the school has been able to offer them an expanding array of hands-on projects to work on.

“They’ve combined with the drama program to do a video, and with foods to do food safety videos,” says Lowe. “The application aspect of the video class transcends all courses and activities taking place in the school and it’s a great way to showcase what we are doing.”

A number of Palliser Regional Schools students competed in the recent Southwest Regional Skills competition with several placing in the top three in their events.

Joel Klassen of Kate Andrews High School finished first in welding, while schoolmates Marcella Roelofs and Zoey Roelofsen finished second and third respectively in culinary arts. Also from KAHS, Christen Gross was first in fashion technology and Sian Hernandez second, while Joel Dyck was third in photography.

Gross went on to place fourth in provincials. Schoolmate Alex Brobbel, who had finished fourth in baking at regionals, would place 11th at provincials. Michaela Horak of Coalhurst High School qualified for photography provincials through a regional online submission, and went on to finish ninth.