The halls of Revere High School (RHS) have become a movie set.
And more often than not, the culprits behind what has become a filming frenzy at the high school is the new Media Club – which just last week learned it won a statewide award for its submission highlighting the state’s school breakfast program.
Gathering in the Media Center of the new RHS Learning Commons (formerly known as the Library) last Friday, Club members and Sponsor Paul Amato accepted an award from Project Bread and the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
It wasn’t a Grammy, but rather a $1,000 check.
And the subject matter wasn’t a windswept drama, but rather a promotional video produced by the club about school lunch.
All the same, it was a feather in the cap for the club – a club that is only in its first year of existence.
Julie Wayman of Project Bread explained that 39 districts from all over the state had answered the call earlier this year to make a promotional video about the nutritional benefits of school breakfast. Instead of making their own stale production, the organization put it on the students of the state to come up with the most entertaining and creative video to highlight a sometimes dry subject matter – cafeteria food.
The RHS entry ended up taking first place statewide, being produced by Freshmen Lyba Khan, Denis Ortiz Martinez and Dennis Mejia.
“I came up with the idea and directed the film,” said Khan, who has flourished in the new club. “A lot of the students were excited to participate in our film. I thought they would be indifferent, but they wanted to do it and were very supportive.”
By no means, however, is this the first outstanding film effort conceived and produced at RHS. Even before the club came into existence, a movie-making culture had begun to develop with the ‘LipDub’ movie that was filmed two years ago using every member of the student body and faculty. Lip-synched to the song ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ by 1980s rockers Journey, the movie showcased the talents and school building for a visiting team of school district evaluators.
That gave way to a spoof of the 1980s classic ‘The Breakfast Club’ that was meant to highlight the new Freshman Academy for incoming eighth graders – and do so in a much more creative way than a simple “video tour.”
“We were charged with making a video about the new Freshman Academy and some of the students wanted to do something a little more creative than the standard informational video,” said Amato. “We thought about it, and the next thing you know, we were introducing the Academy on video through a very creative spoof of ‘The Breakfast Club.’ We called it ‘The Academy Club,’ and it went over really well.”
That was followed up by a similar video introducing the public and the students to the new Learning Commons. That video was a mock-up of the Mac vs. PC commercials that were popular a few years ago. The concept was the same, but the name was ‘Library vs. Learning Commons.’
“What’s very unique here is it’s not just a few students playing around with video, but they’re actually very good at this,” Amato said. “I’m shocked at some of the talent we have and the stuff that is produced here.”
Literature teacher Mary Ellen Dakin said new educational standards are pushing students and teachers to expand into things like movie making. She said reading and understanding literature, especially, requires a new step.
“Reading is not just reading images on a page,” she said. “I’ve used several movie posters in my classroom and had kids analyze the posters before reading a book or play like ‘Hamlet.’ I think it’s an amazing way back to the text. It’s not easy stuff, but always made the students better consumers of the books. Young people are going to be expected to merge film and writing and reading into one seamless presentation.”
Added Humanities Director Christina Porter, “I think the technology is such a focus in this district that it leads to things like this Club flourishing.”
The Media Club is already hot on another project, producing a promotional video for the school’s summer reading initiative. Next fall, they plan on making another lip-synch video.
And there may even be a few more surprises coming soon.
“We do have a full-length feature in the works for next year,” said Amato. “We’ll see where that goes, but there are some pretty good ideas already.”
The full promotional school breakfast video produced by the RHS Media Club can be seen at www.meals4kids.org.
The Revere High School Media Club is only in its first year, but has a long history already of putting together creative films for the school. That history includes a video from last year promoting the Freshman Academy that operated on a spoof of the 1980s classic, ‘The Breakfast Club.’
Accepting the $1,000 award check last Friday were Principal Lourenco Garcia, Freshman club members Lyba Khan, Denis Ortiz-Martinez, Dennis Mejia and Humanities Director Christina Porter.