2023 CTE Month Feature 2: Digital Communications

Editor’s Note: February is Career and Technical Education Month, a public awareness campaign to celebrate the value of CTE and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country. To help Sulphur Springs High School celebrate CTE Month 2023, KSST has compiled short videos featuring a few of the CTE programs offered at SSHS.

Students interested in Audio/Video Production can take Jordan Owens’ Digital Communications classes. There are four courses in the A/V Production program, concluding with practicum students’ senior year.

Intro starts with basics, such as students becoming acclimated with editing software like Adobe Premiere and Suite. The latter is all-encompassing, including Photoshop, Illustrator (used for designing graphics). The higher up in the curriculum one is, the more in-depth these programs get taught to them.

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Owens said in an interview with KSST last week that whichever focus or passion students are drawn to in this program, the curriculum is designed to embrace them on their journey.

AV1 lets students get hands-on, focusing primarily on getting out of the classroom and using camera equipment. AV2 is more of the same, with the program’s conclusion coming students’ senior year.

Practicum in the past has seen students intern at KSST and running social media accounts for different businesses around town.

The Digital Communications instructor believes the latter is particularly useful as “A/V is all encompassing,” Owens said, “it’s not just your traditional broadcast journalism, it could also just be social media videos and social media campaigns, so letting students get an opportunity to do that as well.”

Owens went to SSHS as a student, going to nearby Texas A&M Commerce and interning at KSST prior to becoming an instructor at the high school. Owens is in his fourth year teaching at SSHS.

SSISD instructor Jordan Owens speaks on the CTE featured program in an interview with KSST.

The instructor said prior to him taking over, most of the A/V work the high school did was Wildcat TV, a student-produced newscast. Since then, Owens has grown the Digital Communications department into a full, four-year program.

Owens said the program is a great opportunity for students to learn how to operate camera equipment, then taking their footage and editing it so it can be the most compelling product it can be. He says it is a wonderful outlet for students to create.

Things students work on in the Digital Communications program include making 30 second commercials, to even making films both long and short. Owens said it allows students to get their feet wet in the creative process: from scripting, storyboarding, shooting and acting, all the way up to post-production.

Speaking more on commercials, the A/V instructor told KSST Radio in an interview that his program also has community-based work. Owens said companies and non-profits around town come to the program asking if they can shoot different events, such as banquets.

Previous promotions and shooting opportunities has linked the Digital Communications program with Heart of Hope, a non-profit prenatal care center based in Sulphur Springs, as well as working with the Veterans Memorial that has come to town. The A/V instructor said being able to go out and do events like these are not only great for all parties involved, but they help students enrolled in the program get their feet wet.

“It’s a really cool opportunity for students not just in the classroom, or on campus, but to go out into the community and get real-world experience,” Owens said Thursday.

The Digital Communications instructor said his CTE program being featured this year is big, and not just for the publicity. He says the opportunity for students to enroll in the program goes almost seamlessly with where society is today.

“Every student nowadays are on their phone: TikTok, Snapchat, Youtube… ya know, they their favorite YouTube stars, and some students might think, ‘wow, that’s something I might be interested in doing, I just don’t know how to do it or don’t have the means to do it, or I don’t have the equipment to do it,'” Owens said Thursday.

That is where the beauty of this program comes.

“We provide you with that here at the high school. You get to use industry-standard equipment, not just the editing software but the cameras themselves… and you get to put your hands [on them] and go out and work with and produce content for the school, for community members, and then also we do passion projects,” Owens said.

This is particularly of interest to students because the program allows them the freedom to go out and not just do course-work.

“It’s a great out to be creative. To take that creative space in your head and put it out there and create things on a daily basis, and that’s why I love the class, it’s not just textbook-oriented… it’s a chance for them to come in and it’s kind of a free-reign, just be creative. Have a process with that, but be creative in the outcome,” Owens said.

Be sure to stay tuned to KSST Radio 1230 and Suddenlink Channel 18, check out www.KSSTradio.com, the KSST Radio 1230 AM YouTube Channel and other KSST social media accounts to ensure you don’t miss these 2023 CTE features. Just watch for the “2023 CTE” heading throughout the month.

If you missed any of the features, be sure to click the links below to catch up:

Kick Off Event: Sulphur Springs High School Kicks Off CTE Month 2023 With Mayoral Proclamation

Feature 1: Applied Agricultural Engineering

Author: Ross LaBenske

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