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“This class was a stepping stone in my future. MTV was a huge life changer. It’s a class I will never forget.”
UCLA student & Mission Television graduate
This week, we’re shining the spotlight on Mission Middle School’s video production program — otherwise known as Mission Television, or MTV. Entering their ninth season, these very talented Mission Wildcats not only reach for the stars, they literally become the stars — year after year!
Students begin this award-winning program in 6th grade with a twelve-week introduction to digital media, taught by the amazing Ms. Tamara Whitney — a 2009 Teacher of the Year recipient at Mission Middle School, and a finalist for Educator of the Year for the California League of Middle Schools, Region 9.
Then, in 7th grade, students receive an entire year of extensive training on video equipment while learning about the three stages of filming: Pre-production, production, and post-production.
Encouraged by Ms. Whitney, student productions often tackle difficult social issues while offering ideas that will promote positive social change. Viewers can’t help but be genuinely impressed by the students’ video production skills, and truly inspired by their empathy and compassion. In fact, in competition with schools from throughout San Diego County, Mission Middle School’s videographers have won the prestigious Public Service Announcement Award at the Innovative Video in Education (iVIE) awards a record eight years in a row!
As 8th graders, these very talented students continue to hone their writing, editing, directing, and production skills to produce an entire season — 25 complete video episodes — of MTV. Then, as each season draws to a close, preparations begin for the annual end-of-year film festival — the Wildcademy Awards (a hybrid of Wildcat and Academy) — where the creative talents, hard work, and dedication of MTV’s cast and crew are honored and celebrated in style!
However, the awards don’t stop there…
Mission’s video production students have earned a total of twenty-five iVIE awards including four Grand Recognition Awards (best of the best) in the middle school category! They’ve also gone on to win many other video contests and grants at the local, county, state and even national levels.
While the awards and recognition have been rewarding, perhaps nothing has been more rewarding than the sense of personal accomplishment MTV participants have experienced in this wonderful program. In fact, many of Mission’s former MTV students credit their motivational MTV classes for their subsequent academic and career successes.
One such student is Ranger Saldivar, who went on to study at UCLA. His words reflect the thoughts and feelings of many MTV graduates: “This class was a stepping stone in my future. MTV was a huge life changer. It’s a class I will never forget.”
And, while the beloved Ms. Whitney is thrilled to see the impact she and her classes have had on her MTV students, she humbly adds:
“I don’t really teach video… I use video to teach. I want to teach students to not only have a voice, but how to use it to make a change! Very honestly, students are teaching me just as much as I’m teaching them. My students’ stories inspire me. They move me. They drive me not only to think differently, but to simply be a better person.”
EUSD is very proud of the Mission Middle School MTV program. Ms. Whitney, and her very talented and empathetic students, truly inspire us all!
A few samples that highlight MTV’s amazing work:
Channel 4 San Diego
This segment produced by Channel 4 provides a behind-the-scenes look into the work and process at Mission Television:
Mission Television Gives Back
This documentary about Mission Television and its service to the community was an honorable mention at the 2015 White House Film Festival:
Big Bank Bully
This fun TV commercial for San Diego County Credit Union was the $3,000 winner of the RedEye contest in the 2016 iVIE Awards, beating out competing entries from both middle and high schools in San Diego County. In July 2016, it aired as an actual commercial on NBC 7 San Diego!
This movie about Mission Television student Manny B. was the winning entry in the Grades 6–8 Documentary category at the 2016 iVIE Awards:
This documentary was a 2014 iVIE Grand Recognition winner, and California Student Media Festival winner. Written, filmed, and edited by an 8th grade student, it highlights the cultural conflict many of our students experience as they are torn between two cultures: