Don’t we all want a sense of normalcy back after the far from normal year we have had?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many aspects of our normal high school lives that have been altered over the course of the past year to accommodate the current circumstances.
Media Teacher James Valente and his Media Production class decided to bring back a “stripped down version” of the morning announcement videos.
As Malden High School welcomed students and faculty back in the building for hybrid learning back in March, a new schedule was introduced to cater towards both in-person students and remote students. In this newly proposed schedule, there was a 10 minute window added at the beginning of the school day on Wednesdays, dedicated to “school announcements.”
During this 10 minute time frame, students join their first class, as they typically would, but instead of starting class right away, teachers are to present a school announcements video, which features seniors Kevin Casetta and Ralph Deus providing announcements such as “college scholarships, clubs, sports, and basic ideas that are part of high school life.”
The intention behind this decision to start having school announcement videos was to have something that resembled the morning announcement videos, but “slightly different due to the situation [everyone is] in with hybrid learning.” Valente went on to explain that “with fewer students in session, involvement is not something [they] have much of at this point.” However, he believes that it is still important to have because “it gives students an opportunity to hear about what is going on so that they can keep up with vital information regarding school.”
Casetta explained that he thinks having school announcements can be helpful for freshmen and other new students because they are “coming into a really weird and different environment.” He added that “the announcements are like little helpful guides to those who need it.”
After Valente and the Media Production class were given permission from the administration, it took them a full four weeks of planning and preparation to get their first school announcements video up and ready.
However, now that they have been producing the school announcement videos for weeks, they have developed their own weekly routine. The first step of the planning process is compiling a list of announcements they gathered throughout the week. As the producer, Valente is in charge of verifying “each piece of information.” After each announcement is confirmed, they will put together a script. Then, Casetta and Deus alongside Director and Camera Operator for the school announcements Alexandra Celona refine “the wording of the script and [...] practice it [...] a few times before recording,” ensuring they make any necessary adjustments and corrections before they film.
Every week, Casetta, Deus, Celona, and Valente begin filming the school announcement videos at 9:00 AM on Tuesday mornings, when Valente has all three students in class with him. Casetta explained that on average to film “it takes [them] about one to two takes,” and they film for “[no] more than 20 minutes.” Following the filming, they “spend the afternoon editing and adding all the post-production elements.” The weeks are varied based on how much content they have to work with but Valente would say the entire planning, filming, and editing process totals to “about 5 hours.”
Casetta expressed that his “favorite part of the announcements is just being able to film in front of a camera and read scripts,” further explaining that “[it is] an overall fun process [for him].” Valente stated that Casetta and Deus “have been behind the scenes as camera operators and set people for the past couple of years.” When the option was presented to them, “they both jumped at the opportunity.”
Between the weekly school announcements, the Maldonian Yearbook, photographing Malden High sports, and now live streaming Malden High sports games and meets, with the new no spectators rule, Valente juggles a large amount of responsibility. He expressed that it is definitely not easy but “[his] students are great at what [they] do,” adding that “they have learned the process and are eager to get it done right.”
For the school announcements, they accept information from any and all groups, organizations, administrators and faculty members at Malden High. To add to the school announcements reach out to Valente via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.