Ana and Paige on the setThe International Student Media Festival celebrates outstanding classroom media projects. Students and teachers from kindergarten through college are honored in a three-day event that includes workshops, screenings of winning entries, and an awards ceremony.

It has now grown to be one of the oldest and largest events of its kind. The Festival has been sponsored by the Association for Educational Communications & Technology since 1974. AECT is an education professional association that has been a leader in promoting the use of technology to improve teaching and learning.

ISMF Students at work       ISMF Contestants      

School Video News and used a dynamic crew of students from the Ocoee Middle (see the profile ) and High Schools to broadcast the awards event across the Internet. These outstanding students worked behind the camera as technical crew and also as on-air personalities. As technical crew, they manned cameras and worked in the control room on the video and audio mix. In front of the camera, they interviewed attendees and contestants.

Middle School Crew       ISMF Award Ceremony

We had the opportunity to talk with one of the students, Paige Strickland, about her experience doing “the real thing”, not just the classroom experience.
 Paige and Mindy on set       Crew Member at work at ISMF      

SVN: Paige, we recently had the pleasure of working with you on the ISMF conference held here in Orlando.  You obviously know what you are doing with TV!  How did you get all that experience?
Paige: Well, first let me thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you, it was fun and I learned a lot. As my experience goes, I must give all the credit to Mrs. Gentle, the TV production teacher at Ocoee Middle School. She has taught me everything I know and has made me look at movies, TV shows, and live broadcasts in a very different way.
SVN: When you first looked into TV Production back in middle school, what was your first thought?  What attracted you to TV?
Paige: Wow that was about two and a half to three years ago. My first thought was probably, "well that seems like fun". But, one thing I remember was in sixth grade I would watch the Morning News Show that the kids in her classes would produce. And I kept thinking what I could do to make that better, like; put a transition here, white balance here, give that person more head room. Just little things that would have made the show a lot better. I had this drive to want to make this show better, but, this class was only offered to 7th and 8th graders.

SVN: Was there any ONE thing that fascinated you more than anything else?
Paige: Well, when I first started in 7th grade I love to act, be on camera, and have the entire spotlight on me. But Ms. Gentle made our groups switch jobs every time we did a new project, so that everyone could have a chance to try everything. And I thank her for that, because I found what I love to do: Direct and Post Production.
SVN: You seem to be as comfortable BEHIND the camera, as you are on-air. Which do you like better?
Paige: Actually, I love the pressure of both. The show cannot run without either of them. A talent, or a crew behind the talent.
SVN: Your teachers say you have a natural ability to DIRECT, and have no trouble taking charge.  Have you thought about a career directing?
Paige: I love being in control, and Ms. Gentle taught me how to be a director, the medium between over bearing, and a push over. I have thought about a career in directing, but I have also thought about a career in Law or Psychology. I’m only a freshman in High School, so I have a while until I have to make a decision.
SVN: How do you balance your academics (you ARE getting a 4.0) and extracurricular activities such as Cheerleading, TV, and a social life?
Paige: You know, I honestly can't answer this question, because I don’t know how I do it. My unweighted GPA is a 4.3, I have honors and AP classes, and I’m involved with a lot of activities in my community. My cheerleading team is Mid Florida Champions and 4th in the Southeast Region. When I get opportunities like the ISMF conference it takes up a whole weekend, with very little sleep. My friends are constantly texting me trying to make plans, but a lot of the times I have to deny them; for the cheer, or TV. Let's not even get started in the boys department. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE MY LIFE, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
SVN: What thoughts or advice would you give other high school students who want to get into broadcast?
Paige: Don't be scared to get out there and get involved, and have no regrets. What I didn't mention before was that in sixth grade when I was watching the news broadcast, they announced that there would be anchor try-outs and anyone was interested. Did I try out? No, I didn't and that is something I regret. But I was a tiny sixth grader, at the bottom of the food chain, waiting to get ate by the bigger 7th and 8th graders. I was afraid of rejection. That's something you can't be afraid of. In showbiz you will get shot down hundreds of times, but it’s the one time that you do get picked, that pays off. Life is too short, to look back when you’re 80 and think, I should have done this, or that. Live it up, your only young once.

Paige StricklandPaige Strickland is a freshman at Ocoee High School in Ocoee Florida.  She will graduate in 2012 and has not decided on a career or college yet.  We hope she goes into broadcast.