Eigth-graders participate in manufacturing video contest

Eighth-grade students from three school districts in Schuylkill County recently teamed up with local manufacturers for the 2016 Lehigh Valley Video Contest “What’s so cool about manufacturing?” Two of the schools received awards during a private ceremony Tuesday night at ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem.

Presented by Pennsylvania’s Dream It. Do It., the video contest connected middle school students from 25 school districts in Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill and Bucks counties with local manufacturers, who documented their experiences and presented them in an educational and “cool” way to generate excitement and draw students to consider manufacturing career paths.

Schuylkill Haven Area students partnered with Cardinal Systems Inc. for their video and won the Outstanding Editing Award. Tamaqua Area partnered with Highwood USA Inc. and won the Outstanding Marketing Award. North Schuylkill students partnered with Ashland Technologies Inc. for their video. Northampton School District won the Viewers Choice Award, which was determined by public voting last week. The videos are still available online at www.dreamitdoitpa.com.

“We are always looking for contests and field trips beyond our regular curriculum for students to participate in,” Schuylkill Haven Area High School Principal Sarah E. Yoder said Thursday. “It was a perfect fit for our students to go to Cardinal Systems and do that video.”

Yoder said the students have some experience producing videos as the school has a video production course and that airs their work as the daily announcements every Friday. The eighth-graders participating in the contest came from that course and the journalism course at the school.

Before visiting Cardinal Systems, Yoder said the students had the wrong picture in their heads when it comes to manufacturing and did not realize all the technology being used.

“They are now more aware of what manufacturers create and they can compare their level of understanding video production to the students in other areas,” Yoder said. “They can be proud of how we stacked up with the larger schools in the Lehigh Valley Area. For our students to win an award in their first year is quite an accomplishment. It shows they did an amazing job.”

Megan Frantz, math teacher, student council and Junior National Honor Society adviser, said it was the first time the eighth-graders at Tamaqua Area produced a video.

“It was a brand new experience for all of they,” Frantz said. “We never did anything like this before. The fact that they were one of the schools that won speaks a lot.”

Frantz said the students learned about the variety of options available in the manufacturing industry.

“There are so many careers out there for students to explore,” she said. “Going away to college and being a doctor or a lawyer are not the only options out there. There are exciting things out there and I think they saw that.”

Frantz said she thinks the students will be eager to participate in the contest again next year.

“It’s just a great opportunity for them, not just seeing the opportunities at manufacturers, but the teamwork and editing the video and audio,” she said. “It took a lot of time and effort on their part and we’re just amazed with their abilities.”

Although the North Schuylkill eighth-graders may not have won an award, high school Principal Ken Roseberry said it was a great experience for the students.

“We have been really working the last couple of years on getting kids exposed to the manufacturers and businesses in the community,” Rosenberry said Thursday.

He said students have visited Ash-Tec and other manufacturers several times in addition to the school’s faculty touring facilities over the summer.

“The labor force for manufacturing is not what it used to be,” Rosenberry said. “It’s very science and academic orientated.”

Rosenberry said the district is trying to change that perspective and getting the students to watch the video is one way of doing that.

“The finished project was really high caliber,” Rosenberry said. “We unfortunately didn’t win any awards in our first year doing it, but they are already excited about doing it again next year.”

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