Recently a group of students at Antioch’s Deer Valley High School had the opportunity to build a video from start to finish that would allow them to see what it would be like to work as video producers in the real world. What they found wasn’t as easy as making up a skit and aiming a camera but a chance to relay an important environmental message that required some research on their part.
“As the instructor, I am always looking for ways to make students’ learning relevant to the real world,” said Kiel Olff, a Deer Valley High video production teacher. “This means developing soft skills as well as video skills. When we engage in linked learning projects, we are linking what I’m doing in the classroom with what businesses and people are doing in the workplace.”
The premise for the video was set up by an East County coalition of sanitary agencies and cities looking for students to help them get the word out on their “No Wipes in the Pipes” campaign. The group offered Deer Valley High’s DVTV (digital television) program a $1,500 donation toward new equipment for the development of two short videos that would explain the environmental impact of flushing wipes, whether their containers say they’re “flushable” or not.
The coalition putting together the wipes campaign, which consisted of Delta Diablo, the Ironhouse Sanitary District, the city of Brentwood, the town of Discovery Bay and the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, had in turn been awarded a $1,500 grant from the California Water Environment Associations’ P3S (Pretreatment, Pollution Prevention, Stormwater) committee to be used to pay for the student productions of the videos, which turned out to be a win-win for both groups.
The students chose to develop one video that was to be humorous, and included a talking toilet fed up with having wipes flushed and another that was informational using interviews with local sanitary district staff. It was up to the students to write the scenes, film the videos and edit the film.
“These students had to communicate with adults on deadlines, concepts and communicate as well as work on their video skills,” Olff said.
During the process 12th-graders Amelia Jung, Logan Fontaine, Seniel Billic and Kristian Figueroa visited Delta Diablo, the agency that services Antioch, Pittsburg and Bay Point, to interview staff members and research their subject matter to determine what message they wanted to send to the public. Amelia Jung not only filmed a lot of the project but was also starred in one of the videos and interviewed Delta Diablo staff members speaking in the other.
“I really like having the kids enter competitions and business opportunities outside of Deer Valley because it ensures that I am teaching the students relevant skills and that they are up to the challenge of today’s workforce,” Olff said.