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Digital Portfolio: Paige Rzepka

Paige Rzepka, Producer

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My name is Paige Rzepka and I’m currently a senior. I was able to be a producer of WACS News this year and it is has been, without a doubt, a very interesting and enjoyable year. I was able to learn so many things about being a leader and how to solve problems that don’t have a clear solution. This class helped me realize how much I enjoy helping others and leading a group. It is one of the many reasons that I plan to study Secondary English Education in the fall next year. I’ll be studying at SUNY Fredonia and couldn’t be more excited to pursue my true passion.

I initially enrolled in Multimedia Production because I watched it so frequently when I was growing up. In my 6th grade year, anchor Cam Gordon came into my Family and Consumer Science class. He interviewed students about the food we were making in class at the time. When I discovered that I was going to be on TV, I was immediately drawn to the broadcast and religiously watched WACS News. There were weeks that I would watch the same broadcast multiple times just because I found the entire premise of the show so enticing. The fact that high school students were able to create a news broadcast every week and have it actually air on cable was so fascinating to me. From that moment, I knew that I wanted to be a part of WACS News once I was in high school.

At the start of this year, I knew next to nothing in regards to video editing and producing a broadcast. I definitely struggled with the first few episodes when it came to editing and writing the scripts. After doing the same thing over and over, I began to get a grasp of what needed to be done and proceeded to get things done much quicker and more efficiently. I, along with my co-producer Brooke Strausbaugh, am able to write a script, film and edit an entire news broadcast in a total of five class days. That’s something I was not able to do at the beginning of the school year. Improving my abilities definitely boosted my confidence in regards to learning and developing new skills. My favorite broadcast that I helped produce was the Christmas episode. We were able to cover Winterfest while also going back to the studio for updates about things that were happening within the community and the school district. This broadcast was also unique because it allowed both WACS News classes to work together and produce a solid broadcast filled with a variety of stories. I really enjoyed working with the producers and anchors of the other class. The set up for the Christmas episode was much different than the regular episodes and it was nice challenge. An episode that was a struggle to do was the very first episode. I was extremely inexperienced in regards to running the control room and editing full length episodes. The script was extremely short and lead-ins were virtually nonexistent. Looking back, that episode makes me cringe. I’m glad that my skills have improved over the year.

As previously mentioned, I learned a lot about editing long episodes in a timely manner. Using iMovie isn’t a daunting task for me anymore and I really enjoy creating my own content. My writing skills were stretched to new heights as I was writing scripts for a newscast rather than a typical essay. This was a lot to take on initially however now it’s essentially second nature to me.  Being a leader in the classroom was another aspect of the class that I really enjoyed. Being a producer, it allowed me to take charge and help others that needed assistance with their stories or concepts that they were reporting on. Being a leader in the classroom made me realize that I would enjoy being a teacher. I changed my major to English Education and couldn’t be more excited about the new chapter that my life will be starting. My teachers, Mr. Currin and Mr. Masci, guided me throughout the year and are also a huge part of the reason that I changed my major to teaching. The two of them have had such a positive influence on me; the thought that I could help students and impact their lives in a positive way as well excites me more than anything.

WACS News is not a hard class by any stretch of the imagination. Students that take this class really just have to do their work and turn it in on time. Students also need to be invested in the stories they are covering and put forth their best effort. If they are able to do that, they will be successful throughout the year. Challenges that I faced throughout the year mainly have to do with time management and understanding the technology in the beginning of the year. In the beginning I struggled with pacing myself when editing episodes and writing the scripts. As previously mentioned, I was able to overcome those obstacles rather quickly and continued working to create the best content that I could. Something that I could’ve worked a little harder on was checking in with the reporters to make sure that they were on the right path with their stories. Many times, I was so invested with working on editing that I forgot to make sure everyone else was working on their projects. I tried to check in with them from time to time, but I could’ve checked in with them more frequently.

WACS News serves the community and school in a variety of ways. It provides community members with updates about events and other things that are happening in the school. Many people that live in Alden but don’t have children currently enrolled in school may not be aware of all the exciting things that are going on throughout the school system. WACS News provides a connection to those community members and keeps them informed. The Alden Central School District really does a lot of incredible things for its students. It is important that WACS News captures all of these important moments. WACS News also highlights events that are going throughout the town and village. This, again provides a better understanding to community members that may not have access to news resources like the Alden Advertiser. A perfect example of the school-to-community connection that WACS News provides is the recent Budget 2017 coverage. The Breakfast Blend Team was able to talk to the superintendent, current board members, and many others that provided insight as to what voters would be voting on. This enlightened students and community members alike.

Overall, I’m incredibly glad that I enrolled in multimedia production this year. I was able to grow and develop skills that I didn’t know I had. I loved working in a different environment while also learning how to solve problems quickly. Everything about this class was really enjoyable. It’s a cool feeling knowing that I helped create something that is viewed by so many people around the community and in the school. I never knew that I would actually be able to take charge of a group and get things accomplished. WACS News provided me with the ability to do just that. It boosted my self confidence and I now know what my calling in life really is. WACS News was truly a great way to close out my senior year. I’m so glad that I was able to be a part of it.

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