Classroom News

Seniors apply knowledge of advertising, videography, design           to produce campaigns to motivate student body on SOLs

by Haley Link

Seniors put their advertising knowledge and skills to use by producing SOL commercial campaigns, one of their biggest projects of the year.

Before beginning the SOL commercial project, they study advertising with communications and English teacher Lesley St. James. The purpose of the commercials is to promote positive attitudes and provide helpful tips for taking the SOLs.

Senior Harley Perritt’s campaign is about reading questions carefully and paying attention to keywords including but, not and except.

“First, we made up an idea for different topics to promote tips for the SOL,” Harley said. “Then Mrs. St. James picked our idea that she liked best, and that is what we did our commercial pitch on. Next, we pitched our ideas to three judges who picked the one they liked best from each category and after, we were put into groups based off our topics.”

Senior Macy Shupe and her group worked on a campaign to promote self-confidence throughout SOL testing. Macy said that it is a lot of work to get the commercial, print ads and podcast completed by deadline.

“Still, it is going to be worth it when we can promote beneficial tips to SOL takers and see our work shown around campus.”

“My favorite part about the SOL commercial is working with the football players because they work together as a team and keep each other on track and give it their all,” Harley said. “They are all dedicated to be in the commercial.”



‘Roll Tape’ staff updates ‘Food for Thought’ 


by Matt Felts

The award winning TV show, “Roll Tape,” has tweaked one of its segments.Food 1

A major change in “Food for Thought” has made it more interesting and entertaining. Rather than using still photos of the step-by-step process, on-camera talent makes the food while television instructor Melissa Carothers video records the process.

Communications and English teacher Lesley St. James is pleased with the change.

“Recording the food-making process is much more entertaining and interesting than just showing still photos,” she
said. “It is similar to the informative food network shows.”

The talent for each “Food for Thought” segment comes from the team that writes the script. Taylor Loving and Tyanna Coker are the first pair of students to produce the new segment.

“I think being able to video tape the process is a lot better than just taking still photos. It is less homework for a better result, so you can’t go wrong with that,” Taylor said.

Of course, there are always a few bumps when trying out something new.

“The first time you do any new video project is always a learning process. We definitely have new ideas and will tweak some things to make it better, but it went really well for the first time,” Mrs. St. James said.

Senior portfolios demonstrate four years of creativity, hard work

by Matt Felts

Seniors have a large, end-of-the-year project to compile a portfolio of their high school work in graphic design, web design, journalism, photography and video. The time-consuming project is due on the seniors’ last day of school.

portfolio1Senior Tony Lofton said the project is fun but stressful.

“I enjoy looking back at all of our projects and the memories we’ve had in the center, but it is a lot of work putting the portfolio together,” Tony said. “It’s stressful because of the amount of time it takes to put it together, but I honestly think it will be well worth it.”

Students create their portfolios as professionally as they can because they may want to show it to future employers.

Tony said he likes working on a project that he may use to be hired in a future career.

“Even if communications isn’t the field that I’m going into, my future employer will still see the hard work and creativity I have, which is important for any job,”  Tony said

The front cover, spine, dividers, business cards, letter head, bio page and envelope cover were all created during the seniors work with graphic design teacher Joey Boehling.

“Acquired Taste’ hits the road for ‘Roll Tape’

by Haley Link

From the John Marshall House to Meadow Farms to Fido Fest, seniors visit historical landmarks, culturally significant sites and festivals to produce two-minute video packages about Richmond area attractions.

The video packages are used in “Acquired Taste,” a segment on “Roll Tape,” which is a 15-minute student news show broadcast on HCPS-TV.

Advanced communications teacher Lesley St. James said that “Acquired Taste” is similar to a travel show.

“It seeks to introduce teens and their families to the cultural offerings of the Richmond area,” Mrs. St. James said.

Mrs. St. James said finding a place to visit is the trickiest part of the process because the students must choose locations they have never been that will be interesting to their viewers.

“We look for anything historically significant or different culturally that we haven’t explored,” Mrs. St. James said.

Senior Laura Eley said she enjoys working on “Acquired Taste.”

“I like going to the location and shooting B-roll because it’s fun looking for interesting things going on at the event,” Laura said.

Pre-production for “Acquired Taste” includes interviews at the location, research, emails and phone calls arranging the shoot and the writing and rewriting of the script.

The location shoot requires up to three hours. In small groups, seniors travel to the location, tape their standup, complete interviews and shoot as much footage as possible for the final package.

After returning to campus, seniors upload their footage, tape their voiceovers and use Final Cut Pro to edit their video feature.

Mrs. St. James said that students like putting their learning to the test during the production process.

“I imagine that they like to be unsupervised and to do it by themselves,” Mrs. St. James said. “They get to be a grown-up and tour the places and learn many interesting things.”

Senior Tameasha Blair said that creating the video packages has made her more aware of offerings in Richmond.

“My favorite part is the production because we get to film and actually see what makes that place culturally or historically significant,” Tameasha said. “Overall, I love the experience because we visit places that I normally wouldn’t know even existed.”

‘Varina 441 Live’ has a new look, new set, new studio

by Macy Shupe

Sophomores stand in front and behind of the cameras on the set of “Varina 411 Live”—a student news show that includes interviews, graphics and photos as well as news and feature video packages about the latest events on campus.

As the sophomores gain broadcast journalism experience, they also present campus news to students school-wide.

Center teachers recently transformed the original distance-learning classroom in Building 9 into the set for “Varina 411 Live.”

The virtual set uses a blue screen behind a corrugated metal-covered desk with anchor chairs, a brick background and a spray-painted “Varina 411 Live” logo.

Sophomore English and communications teacher Lindsey Martin said the idea for the set came together when the 411 1communication teachers tossed around ideas. She said they all agreed to a modern setup. Mrs. Martin said the set appeals to both adults and teenagers.

“It really has this industrial vibe. I like to think of it as a garage band type set,” Mrs. Martin said.

Center students have two operational studios for the shows they produce, Studio A and Studio B. In previous years, juniors used the same set as “Varina 411 Live” to produce the show “Roll Tape,” which is broadcast on HCPS TV.

Television instructor and technical director of “Varina 411 Live” Melissa Carothers said two operating sets allow each set to have more options for different looks and themes.

“The biggest advantage perhaps is, at some point, we can have both shows going at the same time,” Mrs. Carothers said. “In the past we’ve had to change out signs from our ‘Roll Tape’ set to make it work with ‘Varina 411 Live,’ but now we can use both sets as they are and not have to change them out for each show.”

In the past, school-wide renovations prevented “Varina 411 Live” from broadcasting live, but sophomores plan to go live twice a month for their campus audience.

Mrs. Carothers said the first shows were a success.

Mrs. Martin said the students fulfilled their jobs and had fun taping.

Sophomore Rafael Wells, the announcer for the first show, said everything flowed smoothly because students work well together in the studio.

He said he is excited about broadcasting live in the future, but some students may be more nervous about it.

“You have to relax and go with the flow; you can’t over analyze things,” Rafael said.

Rafael showed his school spirit during the first broadcast by including a “devil’s horns up” sign to close the show and to encourage school spirit.

Mrs. Martin said plans for the show include sports coverage, features and reviews of books, movies and television shows.

“We have to continue growing ‘Varina 411 Live,’” Mrs. Martin said. “For the past few years, it has not been a live broadcast. We want to change that and actually show it live on campus giving our students an opportunity to feel what it’s like to be on live, and we’ll also record it and put it on for everyone to go back and watch.”


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