Feature Stories

VANTAGE Students Earn National Student Production Award

A group of 2019-20 VANTAGE Digital Journalism students recently won a National Student Production Award for a video the team produced last school year. This prestigious award is sponsored The Foundation of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) and awarded to high school students for exceptional work in filmography and entertainment projects. MHS students Cole Komisar ('21), Michelle Senescall ('21), Drew Sigel ('21), Katie Rohling ('21), and Christina Hansen ('20) made up the team involved in the project.

The students' award-winning video was a commercial featuring Ashery Lane Farm, a family-run wedding and event venue west of Minnetonka. It was filmed as part of their VANTAGE Digital Journalism class, where student groups often have opportunities to form relationships with outside companies and gain real-world experiences in their field. Through business partnerships, students are given valuable experience in digital advertising, while companies are able to promote and share their story.

A lot of work went into creating the commercial. First, the group spent some time touring Ashery Lane Farm and getting to know the company and their mission. They then moved on to planning the story of the commercial and gathering footage. The final stage in the process involved editing down the shots to create the perfect video for their audience.

"We relied on the power of revision and went through many shots and edits in order to find the best fit for the video," shared Michelle. "The project was definitely a group effort, so winning this award brings a lot of validation to our individual skills and how we came together as a team."

After completing their video, the group submitted it to a regional Student Emmy competition, which VANTAGE students have participated in in the past. This year, however, was the first year when two groups advanced to the National competition. Cole, Michelle, Drew, Katie, and Christina are also the first students from Minnetonka to have won the National Student Production Award.

"I'm just super proud of them," said Paul Olson, one of the teachers in the VANTAGE Digital Journalism strand. "They just went above and beyond. They were out there everyday trying to catch the sunrise, trying to get all these good shots. I'm proud of their dedication, and I think it reflects really well on our VANTAGE program as a whole."

Cole, Michelle, Drew, Katie, and Christina are grateful to their teachers, Mr. Olson and Ms. Hedstrom, for guiding them through the process of creating their video. They also give a huge shoutout to Ashery Lane Farm and to the VANTAGE program as a whole for the valuable knowledge they gained through this project.

"As VANTAGE students, we were especially grateful to be exposed to real-world experiences, and we feel lucky to have worked with a company who was patient with our learning process," Michelle said. "Learning skills that will be applied in the workforce was also something that VANTAGE allowed us to excel at, as well as creating interpersonal experiences with our peers."

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