Lights! Camera! Awards!: Wilson mass media wins big at national competition

Ethan Leifman

Way back in January, The Beacon wrote about how Wilson’s Mass Media team was unsure how they would secure funding for their annual trip to the Student Television Network Convention (STN), the premier national competition for 3000+ American mass media students. Usually, DCPS provides the funding, but this year, the competition was being held in Nashville, Tennessee, among the states that have been government travel-blacklisted by Mayor Muriel Bowser for their failure to protect LGBT rights. But, through lots of fundraising and help from the Wilson PTSO, the team persevered.

In mid-March, 16 mass media students flew down to Nashville for the three day trip, led by Career Technology Education teacher Kadesha Bonds. James Carline, who is now a student at Churchill High School but attended Wilson in his freshman year, won first place in the “Short Story” category, along with junior Mabel Malhotra. Junior Caleb Balmoris and senior Jilani Sutton won second in the the “Action Sports Edit” category, and sophomore Charlie Nichols and senior Grace Stohr won second place in the “To Tell the Story” category, which was a pre-given profile footage editing competition.

The competition, though short, can seriously improve the skills of many competitors. “I learned so much in so little time, all tips that can make my filming and editing a lot stronger,” said sophomore Alex Cirino. “Special thanks to Ms. Bonds for making this all possible.” Bonds sees the value in the yearly trip, which she says helps prepare her students for careers in mass media.

Even the team’s first event, in which they missed the deadline, was a teachable moment. “I’m a stickler for late work. Late work isn’t allowed in the real world,” Bonds said, who notes that the competition isn’t just important for developing skills. At STN, lots of colleges scout and recruit, similar to high school sports games. For Wilson mass media students, the high-profile competitions they attend and win as well as the fact that Wilson has a gold standard mass media program are great opportunities to jostle for acceptances and scholarships.

As for now, Wilson’s mass media seems to be doing what they do best: Filming, editing, and winning.