El Camino students place in the SEVA finalists

By Mia Randall, Editor in Chief

On April 29 at Hiram Johnson High School, the 2023 Student Educational Video Awards (SEVA) ceremony took place where several students were applauded and awarded for their video entries. 

A handful of El Camino students were placed in the finalists, one student Hannah Schooley (’24), even receiving an honorable mention.

This live red carpet event and award ceremony celebrates the efforts of the SEVA students and their teachers. It was live streamed on cable, secctv.org and Youtube. 

The finalists were revealed live on air throughout the week of April 17 on SECC Comcast 16. 

SEVA has five video categories in grade groups representing elementary through high school, and students can win an award or possibly be nominated for an honorable mention. The categories are Creative Expression, Documentary, School News, Instructional and Public Service Announcement (PSA). 

This year was EC’s first time as a media class participating in SEVA with a total of eight entries. Three out of the eight entries submitted made it into finalist categories with several others made by students in the Sacramento area. 

Schooley produced and directed a short film called If Only, which was based on an original poem she wrote herself. Not only was If Only a creative expression finalist, but it earned an honorable mention for the category. 

Schooley’s inspiration behind her film stemmed from a project she did last year in her media class. She made a music video which featured a song that told a story about depression. 

“I realize suicide isn’t something that’s openly talked about a lot so I wanted it to be something that people could watch and [recognize] the different signs of [depression],” Schooley said. 

Hannah Schooley (’24) makes her way to the stage after her film If Only receives an honorable mention. Photo by Eagle Eye Staff

Although this was Schooley’s first time participating in SEVA, she plans to do it again next year and is already brainstorming ideas. 

The film TABS, which was written and directed by CTE Media Students Liz Ramirez (‘24) and Tori Norlie (‘24) was also among the creative expression finalists. 

TABS is an eight-minute video where student Charlie Williams, played by Aubree Diacon (‘24), struggles with motivation and is overshadowed by her past academic achievements. In a time of need, TABS, a motivational sock puppet, accompanies Williams and gets her back up on her feet. 

Short films weren’t the only notable videos. A 15-minute instructional video titled “How to Make a Song Using LMMS” by CTE Media Student Caleb Elazier (‘24) was among the instructional finalists. 

EC Media Teacher Matt Sumpter played a key role in his students’ success. Although his students did all the filming and editing, he was there as a guide to help and encourage them.

“Since I took over the program five years ago, I’ve worked pretty closely with SEVA. They’ve provided me with a bunch of resources that I’ve been taking advantage of, but this was the first year we actually really entered into the program, so I’m super happy about the eight entries that we had,” Sumpter said. 

The five categories on which the event is based are also what guides Sumpter’s media classes. In the first level, the students are building skills in all categories except documentaries, a format he introduces in the second-level class. In the third level, students work on honing their skills in live broadcasting and creating a single, in-depth portfolio project. 

“You see all these schools, not just in our district but other districts, expanding media programs. It’s kind of becoming a new art form that is replacing other art classes,” Sumpter said. 

He explains how nice it was seeing the younger students enjoying themselves, but also how the older the students got, the more competitive they got. 

“A competition breeds pressure which breeds more focus on creating a product that is competitive in a marketplace of ideas. And I think that’s good for everybody because especially as they enter college, it’s gonna be highly competitive—or straight to the workforce, which is the marketplace of competition,” Sumpter said.

Although the students were the ones participating in the competition, Sumpter emphasized that he also learned a lot from the process and what more to apply to his media classes next year. 

“The hardest thing to do is to light the scene. One of the things I took out of watching everybody else’s work and the competition was that most of the winners—I mean, the quality of the footage was just amazing because it was so well lit,” Sumpter said. “We’re going to explore how to improve. I think maybe that was one thing that could be improved across our three finalists—just the quality of shooting and low light.”

Along with the quality of the videos, Sumpter also wants to encourage more students to submit their entries, aiming for about 80 percent of the class to participate instead of the 40 percent he had this year. He wants more students to take pride in their work and submit their best so they can at least experience the process, even if they don’t make it to the finalists or win. 

For more information about EC’s Media program and SEVA, visit S1 on campus or visit the SEVA website at www.secctv.org/seva.

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