January 27, 2022

Ready for their close-ups

CHS students take charge, train in video production class

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Cortland High School sophomores Emily Phelps and Joe Cataldo served as news anchors Thursday during the high school’s television production class.

It was a frantic last day Thursday during Cortland High School’s video production class.

People yelled and ran to get into place and receive last-minute instructions. Yet the show came through.

“The show went very good. It was a little bit stressful. We had some packages that ran a little too long, but everything for the most part was good,” freshman Brett Senno said.

Students in the class write, film, edit and air stories broadcast every Friday on cable access channel 17, said Dan Devlen, one of the teachers in the class. Beyond learning how to write, film and edit reports, it teaches life skills on how to communicate and work with people, the teachers said.

Senno, the class video director, worked from the video production room, making sure the video packages and other students were lined up and ready.

Thursday’s show included reports on the school’s sports teams, renovations of the school’s auditorium, staff retirements along with holiday-themed segments like student and faculty interviews on favorite Christmas movies.

“The stories were fun and laid back,” said sophomore Monica Costner. “There weren’t too many about real world stuff, which we don’t really do, anyways. I like that it was more of a fun show and not too serious.”

Costner, who filled in as the weather anchor, said Thursday’s show, the last of the semester, was her favorite.

When Costner joined the class, she wanted to focus on writing the stories, she said. But being in front of the camera as a news anchor changed her mind.

“Before this class, I really wasn’t out there at all and I was really quiet unless I was around my friends,” she said. “When I got into this class, I got really confident and now I’m not as shy.”

When the class resumes next semester, Costner said she wants to report on vaping among high school students.

Melissa Quinlan, a technology teacher at Cortland High School and one of the class’s teachers, wants this class to help the students grow outside of it.

“The skills they are learning in this class are applicable anywhere else in life,” she said. “You have to talk to people, whether you’re conducting an interview or just talking about a problem with a peer at work. Or you have to be professional and be held accountable for deadlines.”

“My hope is that the kids take the skills they learn in here and can apply it to any avenue they want to pursue in life,” she added.