This past April, my students and I had the opportunity to participate in the Tennessee State SkillsUSA Leadership and Skills Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
This event brings students from the entire state to one location to compete in various competitions ranging from culinary to architecture to, of course, video production. This was the second year for the Broadcast News Production at the TN state level. Last year, we were privileged to win 1st place and we entered this year hoping to bring back another championship to our school. The competition was tough, but my students worked their hardest and were awarded 1st Place again in the event.
A competition like this is a great chance for students to feel the pressure of being in a fast paced news environment, while being rewarded for their hard work and skills they have learned at their local high school. My students have made comments about how they can see how all of their previous technical education has prepared them for not only a competition, but to get a job in the “real” world. I would highly recommend to all teachers to find a local or state competition to become involved with. It has enhanced the rigor and relevance of our program and brought a new standard of professionalism to our students. A couple of students wanted to share about the convention from their perspectives.
SkillsUSA was such a fun experience. Not only did we get to show our skills from Cleveland High School, but we got to compete against other schools from across the state. It was a great chance to be able to show what we can do and it made it even better that there was real life competition. I think everyone should have a chance to compete and SkillsUSA because it really is a great experience! We had three full days full of fun, training, competition, and awards. There is nothing quite like it.
The pressure of sitting in front of the cameras while we were competing was super difficult. However, it was so worth it because getting first place and heading off to Nationals is a huge opportunity! SkillsUSA gives students a healthy competition and I sense of professionalism while we are there. I couldn't have asked for more exciting three days and I am so excited to compete in nationals. Everyone should have the opportunity to compete in a SkillsUSA competition because it truly is the best.
Guy Shelton-Director/Technical Director
I have been going to SkillsUSA for a couple of years now and thoroughly enjoy the competition. There is nothing better than traveling with a group of friends to compete in a field we love. Digital Media has always been a passion of mine so from the first time I was introduced to it I've been trying to learn more and more about it. My teacher at Cleveland High School in Cleveland, TN, Jon Souders is the best of the best. He was able to channel my enthusiasm and turn it into a hunger to learn. I then took that hunger and turned into a passion which I would base my future career on learning everything I could about the technical side of how video works.
Due to my background in the technical side of Digital Media I was well prepared to be a director/technical director at the SkillsUSA competition. It was a 3 camera set-up using a TriCaster for switching cameras and to playback B-Roll. As well as teleprompter software from Ross that professional news companies use. It was a fantastic experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering going.