Rugby High School's Panther Vision channel went live last Friday, February 17.
The channel is a project in conjunction with North Dakota Telephone Company (NDTC), which reached out to RHS administration with the idea to create a student produced television channel.
The channel is being run by Ashley Stricker's mass media class, which currently has 10 students. Stricker got her interest in the project both after taking a project based learning course run by Superintendent Dr. Mike McNeff. As a project based teacher in nature, Stricker wanted to teach a media unit that would allow students to learn filming and making commercials for the community. It was soon after that NDTC offered this partnership.
NDTC provided most of the equipment needed to produce the channel, including three cameras, lighting, a green screen, SD cards and external hard drives. RHS received a grant, which helped to obtain the rest of the needed equipment, such as Mac computers and Final Cut Pro for editing.
The students running the channel have decided to have four hours of content cycling on Panther Vision daily, apart from live coverage of sporting events and other school activities. The prepackaged content will include stories created by the students, as well as information such as weekly events, what's for lunch, and both high school and elementary school activities.
Future plans include live footage of all home sporting events, including football, basketball and volleyball games. Other featured activities will be FFA, FBLA and more. The channel also plans to have a live feed of graduation.
Stricker would love to see the channel expand beyond the high school, allowing footage from Ely Elementary onto Panther Vision, as well. However, because of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) restrictions, it is more difficult to film younger students. Panther Vision would like to create a partnership with Ely to showcase its students in the future.
"We definitely don't want to just focus on the high school," Stricker said. "We want to bring in the community and the elementary school. Ideally, I would like for it to be available to everyone."
The equipment provided by NDTC is getting a lot of use, not just from the students in Stricker's mass media class, but also from all students and teachers. "This is not just for those 10 students in Mass Media, other kids in the school can use it, too," Stricker said, explaining that quite a few students have already used the equipment to aid in projects for other courses.
Senior Matty Koenig decided to take Mass Media because she is interested in graphic design and plans to major in it in college. "I thought that this would give me some knowledge before school next year," she said. "I like the editing, the finishing process after recording and doing interviews. I like being able to put it all together at the end."
Koenig said that it is the creativity behind the class that she appreciates and hopes continues in future years. "We have the freedom to give our own ideas of the stories that we want to do, which we don't get in other classes," she said.
Senior Eric York registered for the class because it was something different than his usual academic courses. "I like working with technology, video and audio," he said. "Anybody in the school who wants to get away from academics or sports and wants to do something creative should join this class."
For York, it's all about the creation of content. "We get a lot of leeway to do things how we want them and get people to see things the way we see them," he said. "I want to leave a good foundation so that [future students] have a bit of room to be confused and explore."
The process of creating content happens in steps, according to Koenig and York. First, the students discuss story ideas and assign groups to work on projects. Then, they fill out an idea pitch sheet. Next, they shoot the B-roll, which is supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot to indicate simultaneous action or flashbacks. They also shoot interviews. After editing, they send the material to Stricker and McNeff to review.
Current videos include Senior Class Interviews, which allow for the community to get to know each senior a little better. Questions the seniors answered were about their past, their future, and where they see themselves in 10 years. Panther Vision will also be highlighting students who make outstanding achievements in areas such as academics, extracurricular activities and volunteering.
"I love the fact that this is filling a void at the high school," Stricker said. "We didn't have anything in production until now. The main thing is that it is genuinely helping our students and gearing them towards a possible career in this field and related fields, which is something that wasn't offered last year. It's a great elective option for those who are interested in reporting."
As for summer months, content will start to be discussed in the spring. According to Stricker, administration and Panther Vision will need to talk with NDTC to see what expectations are.
"NDTC has been incredible to work with. It is a great company and has a great group of people," Stricker said.
Panther Vision can be viewed on NDTC's channel 471.