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Oakcrest students' videos focus on local businesses and organizations

Recently, the Oakrest Honors Digital Video and Editing class has been out in the community producing video projects for local area organizations and businesses.

The goal of these projects was to highlight the social and cultural significance of the organizations and the services they provide to the community.

Media teacher Jason Thomas and several of his students traveled as a production unit to destinations such as the Humane Society of Atlantic County, the Inn at Sugar Hill and the Bacharach Sleep Centers to increase awareness for these area landmarks and highlight the role they play in the community.

Thomas said the trips were “unique opportunities for the students involved in our program to not only experience a real world on-location shoot, they also get to see firsthand how some of these places that we take for granted on a daily basis play such an important part in our community.”

The purpose of each trip was to create a documentary-style video featuring interviews with owners, employees and volunteers along with behind the scenes footage from each place, he said.

Senior media student Alana Conti, who wrote and directed the shoot at the Humane Society shelter in Absecon, said, “Having control of a community production is a big responsibility. Being able to go out to the county shelter and create something for them while gaining knowledge in a field I hope to pursue is such an amazing experience.”

Students visited the Inn at Sugar Hill in Mays Landing to learn the history of the local landmark.

“It was an amazing experience working with the inn, learning so much history about the building and the town of Mays Landing,” senior media student Austin Tait said. 

The final stop for the production crew in the month of December was the Bacharach Sleep Centers in Hammonton and Galloway.

“These chances to work with such great people and iconic organizations was a no-brainer. The individuals at each location were so open and welcoming to sharing their stories with us and we couldn’t be more thankful for these chances to share what we do with the others,” Thomas said, referring to the collaboration between his classes and the community, 

The visit to Bacharach was a partnership between media teacher Thomas and health teacher Kevin Costello, who oversee a distracted driving initiative in the school and community, focusing on drowsy driving this year.

Costello coordinated with Bacharach staff behind-the-scenes tours and interviews with doctors that focused on the dangers of driving drowsy and the science behind sleep and the brain. 

“It was great to collaborate with the sleep center and Bacharach about the dangers of drowsy driving. They shared information that was important to communicate with our school and community to help aid in the prevention of this problem,” Costello said about the experience of producing the video.

All three of the videos will be available to view this month, as they are completed, on Thomas’ class YouTube page, youtube.com/user/mediatvfilmstars; accessible through the Oakcrest High School website, gehrhsd.net/oakcrest; and on the media class monthly news program “The Falcon Forum,” which airs on Comcast channel 97 and Verizon Fios channel 30.

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