The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 23, 2014

Windber students honored for video

WINDBER — Two Windber Area High School students have received state and regional honors for their digital production skills.

Senior Jay Shaffer and freshman Erik Blasic won first place and $500 in the St. Francis Communications High School Video Challenge.

The contest, which required participants to write, produce and edit a three- to eight-minute video on the environment or sports and society, was open to high school students in Cambria, Somerset, Bedford, Blair, Indiana and Westmoreland counties.

Shaffer and Blasic produced a video that focused on water pollution in the area, specifically acid mine drainage and the cleanup efforts in Blacklick Creek, Stonycreek River and Bens Creek.

As part of their digital video production class, the two researched the topic, wrote the script, scheduled on-camera interviews, recorded the audio and edited the footage.

“We walk by the Blacklick Creek in Windber all the time and nobody wants to go in because it’s polluted, so it was interesting to learn about how the pollution happened and how it’s being cleaned up,” said Shaffer, who plans to attend Robert Morris University and major in television and video production.

Blasic said they wanted to make a video that would be unique and have interest to the community.

“It’s a dedication to the town and it’s our history,” he said.

In addition, Shaffer and Blasic will join senior Briana Sheehan and freshman Ryan Statler for a student showcase at the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo Conference that will be held Feb. 11 in Hershey.

They will share their experiences about ways in which they use technology in the classroom.

The four are part of the Windber News team, which produces a news show that features at least five segments and runs up to 10 minutes each day.  

 More than 2,500 teachers, administrators and technology company representatives from across the state plan to attend the conference.

Dave Dzurko, a high school engineering and technology teacher, said Windber News gives students a real-world digital experience.

“Every day, as part of our digital video production class, the news crew researches, produces, edits and reports a range of stories,” he said.

“It’s a really engaging way for students to strengthen their writing, communication and production skills.”

Newscasts are uploaded daily to YouTube and can be viewed at WindberNews.

Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at

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