Tag Archives: video

Performing Arts teach us humanity

By Evelyn Archibald

Staff Writer

“The most important thing any kind of arts can teach,” Stage Combat and College Readiness instructor Keith Brown says, “is what teaches us humanity.”

Stage Combat, an acting class focusing on combat and physical communication on stage, is the only performing arts class currently offered at Summit Shasta, but maybe that should change.

While, as Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times writes about, teaching the arts does not by association improve scores or grades in other subjects, that’s not all that’s important. “Science without humanity is just experimentation, in my opinion. Math without humanity is just numbers with nothing behind it,” Mr. Brown says.


Stage Combat students stage a fight scene. PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

“We’re learning about humankind. […] you’re seeing emotions, you’re seeing situations.”

Summit schools like Shasta try to build community advocates and leaders with skills like compassion, self and social awareness, resilience and identity. Performing fosters these skills intensely: learning to know and be comfortable in your own body, looking inside yourself and your emotions, working with others as one unit, taking constructive feedback, advocating for yourself and being confident in your talents.

“I think more than anything else, seeing the willingness to put themselves in uncomfortable conversations, […] talking about ways that you can feel like something is holding you back or putting you down, it can be really hard to have that kind of conversation and be honest,” Mr. Brown said on the growth he’s witnessed in his students. “It can be really hard to be in front of a crowd and speak with any kind of confidence or authority. One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is seeing that confidence come out of people, and the joy that can come from finding your voice.”


Stage Combat teacher Keith Brown PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

Benefits of the arts in education have been studied and witnessed many times, even finding motivation to stay in school might be linked to art and music classes. But how easy is it to just add curriculum?

Lucretia Witte, dean of Expeditions for Summit Schools, explains how the Expeditions process works: “To sum it up, there are about six departments: STEM, Arts and Design, Business and Media, Health and Fitness, Future Planning and Leadership and Society. We try to have at least two options for each of those departments, and we survey students to find out what they would be interested in.” She went on to explain the staffing process: “To find staff, we don’t hire for a specific course title, just someone who is passionate about working with us, and who would be doing what they love. We also try to keep staff in a local job; so, for example, if someone lives in San Francisco and wants to teach in Health and Fitness, we would try to put them in one of our Northern schools.”


Dean of Expeditions Lucretia Witte PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

“It can be harder to find folks who are very talented and also passionate about the job,” Ms. Witte said about performing arts teachers, and that makes sense. With arts classes commonly being the first to get cut when budgets are tight, and as only 10 percent of art graduates become working artists, and only 16.8 percent of working artists are educators, it’s not a surprise that passionate drama or music teachers can be hard to find. Especially when you want local teachers in the community, like Summit schools strive to hire. However, Ms. Witte said the Expeditions team is trying to hire teachers for classes like Dance or Music in the Northern schools like Shasta, which could open up many opportunities for Shasta students to pursue the performing arts.

Another matter to consider is after-school programs, such as a play or musical, a dance company, chorus or marching band, choir, and others. Lots of schools offer these types of programs, but at Shasta, the way these get started is a little different.


Dean of Culture and Instruction at Summit Shasta Adelaide Giornelli PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

“It’s a question of budget, and it’s also a question of who would run it,” Adelaide Giornelli, Shasta dean of culture and instruction, said. “Right now, all of our clubs are student-organized, student-advocated-for, and student-led. So if a student wanted to start a musical theater company or a choir, or an a capella group – which we actually have had in the past – the student would then have to fill out a proposal for a club, get approval, and then we would be able to provide supports as we could.”

See below for a video about the Stage Combat class:

Course puts students through the behind the scenes magic of filming

By Judy Ly

Staff Writer

In the Video Production Expeditions course, students have the opportunity to explore the process of producing a film.  Through projects, such as creating a mockumentary and a silent film, students get to explore different roles and different perspectives on the behind the scenes magic.  Students are able to act as a director, a camera operator, a scriptwriter or an actor.

When asked what takeaway he had from this class, Rainier freshman Andrew Pescatore said, “Well, I learn how movies are made … with, like, different shots.” He followed his answer with fundamentals he learned about what goes into a film, such as different shots, good lighting and the rule of thirds.


Video Production shows the community how they film a scene at their Celebration of Learning showcase.

For the Celebration of Learning project, instructor Vincent Nelson decided to include family and friends as part of a short skit, taking place in a student council election. Members of the community acted as the audience for the shoot. Instead of just watching videos made from previous projects, this allowed them to see how students would’ve made the video.

See below for a video about this course:

Expeditions classes work together to make a community

By Gabriel Benyamin, Noel Cintron and Vaibhav Gopal 

Staff Writers 

Video Production is an Expeditions class that works on filming and acting. Vince Nelson teaches the students how to use cameras, how to work the lights and how to act. Students also learn how to record on camera.

Video Production class involves directors to run the skit, filmmakers to film what is going on in the skit and the editor to edit different scenes of the skit. Also, in Video Production Mr. Nelson invites visitors to come and talk about their experience acting and the art of filming.

In the class, Tahoma junior David Provazek wants to learn “what kind of things go into the production and how this profession looks like.” In addition, Provazek added that they “get to watch shows and create a film to be a actor.”

As the rest of the students were watching a movie in Video Production class, three student directors were taking notes on what the movie is about. The scripts were given by the teacher.

Mr. Nelson allows students to pick what job really fits them, such as the boom operator who makes sure that the microphone is not in the frame when filming starts.

The director is in charge of everything such as guiding the filmmakers, actors and the student directors. He is the one who makes sure that they have the right actors for the film. He is also in charge of making the scripts for the performers.

The sound mixer is the one who makes sure the audio is very good quality. The script supervisor is in charge of making sure the actors know what they are saying and making sure that they memorize their lines.

The cameraman has a good job in filming. He is in charge of recording, angling the camera and making sure the lighting is good. Then there’s the editor. The editor is in charge of fixing all of the takes and making all of the scenes good for when the films are shown to our parents and teachers.

The Assistant Director, also known as the AD, is in charge of making sure the camera, sound and lights are rolling. Finally, the art director is in charge of making all the clothes for the actors so when they perform they have the right clothes on.

Students had audition in order to be selected to become actors. The director is the main person who brings the whole team together. This round, students from the drama class were also given a chance to audition.

Mr. Nelson said that he is really creative in film, and he wants to express his art. According to Mr. Nelson, community means helping others learn the craft and coming together as a whole community. His goal for his class this year is to enlighten his students about the art of film and to allow his students to use modern equipment, while teaching them through his experience.

Mr. Nelson’s strategies to help his students succeed during the next three rounds of Expeditions are to allow the students to teach themselves when he gives them instructions.

Provazek said he chose the class because he “thought it might be interesting.” He added that he wants to learn what goes into production and “how this profession looks like.” Provazek thinks that “he does not have much experience” in video production so he does not want to be an editor or a cameraman.

Tahoma sophomore Ricardo Robles said he enjoys the class. “I like cameras, taking pictures and making videos,” he explained. Robles added, “Making videos because I like taking videos of actors.”

Tahoma senior Alan Hill said, “I enjoyed the class because I saw an opportunity to develop my leadership skills by becoming a TA.” He said he likes “helping others learn the craft and coming together as a community.”

Before students go on stage, a lot of practice and memorization is involved, and the actors take it very seriously. Mr. Nelson explained that he wants to make students  “improve their knowledge of editing, directing, acting and lighting because it is important to know all of those things in film” before presenting them to the class.

During everyday Expeditions classes, Mr. Nelson makes the students practice presenting in front of the class with the cameras.

In conclusion, the Video Production class involves a lot of work inside and outside of class in terms of actors memorizing their roles. Students frequently get to watch movies to learn techniques they can apply to their own films.

Here are some additional photos of the Video Production class in action:


Classes work together to make a community