The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 17, 2014

Making news: Windber places 5th in national technology competition

WINDBER — Windber News Team has good news of its own.

The Windber Area High School team members – Trevor Buchan, Erik Blasic, Tabitha Weaver and Jay Shaffer – placed fifth in the nation at the national Technology Student Association competition that was held June 27 through July 1 at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland.

More than 100 teams from across the country competed at the annual event, which is designed to foster personal growth, leadership and opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Windber’s first place honors at the state competition in April allowed them to advance and compete at the national level.

As part of its entry, the group had to write, shoot and edit a 60-second video on-site at the conference.

It had 48 hours to work on the video, which had to incorporate a shoelace and a water bottle, and answer the question: Do you think this thing will really work?

In addition to the video, the team had to chronicle its work and submit a comprehensive binder that included the script, a list of equipment used, the shot log and other necessary information.

Shaffer, who recently graduated and will attend Robert Morris University to pursue a degree in video production, said being a part of TSA was one of the smartest decisions he made in his high school career.

“I never thought we would even make it to the national conference, but now that we have placed fifth in the nation for On Demand Video, I can only imagine how far the team will go in the future,” he said.

Dave Dzurko, a technology and engineering education teacher at the high school and its TSA adviser, said it was exciting for him to watch the students collaborate and see the video come to life.

“As their teacher, it was rewarding to see them work together, share ideas and do all of the work necessary to complete the video in the allotted time,” he said. “Our news program at school teaches them video and communication basics, and competitions like these really allow the students to show what they can do.”

The district introduced the hands-on digital video production program for the 2012-2013 school year.

It gives students the skills and opportunities to write, produce, edit and air daily news shows, film and edit district events, create district videos and showcase their work at the local, regional and national levels.

Windber’s entry can be viewed on YouTube at http://youtube/Kb1LJxDKeXg.

Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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