Vicki Dunn’s video tech class at GRHS doesn’t have a lot of students, but they accomplish plenty within the walls of Tiger Arena.
Dunn has six students, and she said the class members are very close.
“I’ve had all these students in my digital media class before, and we’re just one big family,” she said. “We’re a diverse group when you consider the other activities they take part in besides video tech. We’ve learned we’ll all make mistakes, but we have each other’s back and know what each other’s strengths are.”
Video tech students have to apply in the spring to be in the class the following school year. Students must submit a 30-second video about why they want to join and have teacher recommendations. Dunn prefers juniors and seniors for transportation reasons, but will admit the occasional sophomore.
“The class was created when the arena was built,” she said. “We basically run the cameras, do sound and the video board for any event held in the arena where video or sound are needed – tournaments, playoff games, etc.”
Marissa Graves is a senior in the class who plans to major in media communications at Hardin Simmons University.
“I guess video tech just opened my eyes to the possibilities for that career path, and video editing has turned out to be one of my passions,” Graves said. “I also enjoy the broadcasting part because I get to see everybody’s facial expressions about the video I’ve made and how they enjoy it, which is rewarding.”
Dunn asked Graves if she was interested in the class during softball practice one day.
“I was totally into trying it, not knowing that it would eventually change my life,” the senior said. “She sees details that I don’t notice when I’m editing and has given me the necessary tools to do what I need to do. If it wasn’t for her encouragement, I wouldn’t have made it this far.”
Dunn’s class uses Photoshop to create graphics, Adobe Premier to create videos and TriCaster to control video sound.
"I had to teach myself the Adobe Premier editing software," Graves said. "I picked it up quickly, but to learn all the key things and teach myself new tricks has been an enjoyable challenge."
GRHS junior Miranda Willis is happy she gave video tech a shot.
"I'm new to Glen Rose this year," Willis said. "I needed another class and when I saw video tech it seemed interesting and was something I've never done before. I've learned a lot of new stuff and taking this class was definitely one of the best choices I've made this school year."
Willis called working with Dunn "awesome" and said being part of a small class makes it really easy to get questions answered.
"Probably the hardest part has been learning how to use all the software for making videos and creating graphics," Willis said.
Merae Talavera assists Willis with sound and Graves with video, while Robert Germann, Joel Reyes and Consuelo Galindo each run cameras in the arena.
"All the students can run all the equipment, but they all have their favorite jobs," Dunn said. "I know some of these kids are thinking about majoring in video production. We've also shared these experiences with some students from other schools, letting them try running some of the equipment."
Teacher and student alike have their favorite events from this school year.
"I'd say the 5A regional volleyball tournament was my favorite event we've done this year," Dunn said. "We were really into the games and the fast-paced action on the floor helped us get ready for basketball. It was a lot of fun and it seemed like we gelled after that tournament as a cohesive group."
Willis turned her focus to basketball.
"Working the (Lions Club) tournament was probably my favorite because we got to spend all day together and our class gets along really well," the junior said.
Graves mentioned a project outside the confines of Tiger Arena.
"We recently had a week to do a five-minute video about Glen Rose High to present to the school board," the senior said. "I was the lead editor. Everybody did a section of it, and the challenge of working together as a team to get it done was so enjoyable."
The class has created commercials for the 10 local businesses that sponsor the video scoreboard above the arena court, and Dunn really encourages her students to be independent on those projects.
"That's when they get to show off their creative side and learn how to communicate with people outside of a school setting," she said. "The students do all the communication with the businesses on their own to set things up before we film the commercials."
Dunn was a computer science major in college, and over the years she's returned to school to get several different certifications. She taught video tech for a couple of years in Stephenville before coming to Glen Rose.
"It was kind of a natural fit for me to move into this role when they opened the arena," Dunn said.
It sounds like her video tech class will be going strong for years to come, if student recommendations are any indication.
"I would tell students thinking about taking video tech that it's an amazing class and group of people," Willis said. "It takes time outside of school, but it's worth it. I'm definitely interested in a career involving the skills that I've learned."
Graves was equally enthusiastic.
"I would recommend this class to anyone," Graves said. "Even if you don't want to go into the video field, it teaches you good skills for life."