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SSHS falls short, still reaps rewards
by Garrett E. Valenzuela
Oct 22, 2013 | 1197 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne -- Spanish Springs High School was a top five finalist in the Katy Perry "Roar" video contest which brought Good Morning America to the school in October. The school was not picked to host a free Perry concert, but the school reaps internal benefits nonetheless.
Tribune photo by John Byrne -- Spanish Springs High School was a top five finalist in the Katy Perry "Roar" video contest which brought Good Morning America to the school in October. The school was not picked to host a free Perry concert, but the school reaps internal benefits nonetheless.
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Katy Perry might not be coming to Spanish Springs High School for a free concert, but the Cougar faithful were not empty handed after word trickled down late last week that Colorado's Lakeside High School was named the winner in the “Roar” Video Challenge held earlier this month.

“Yeah, I was bummed that we didn't win the concert, but to highlight our school, community and state, makes me feel like we actually did win,” said Mike Bowers, broadcast journalism teacher at Spanish Springs High’s C3 Media Academy. “I have been telling my students all along that we are already winners. My kids got to interview a Good Morning America producer, watch the GMA crew shoot a news package and set up a "live" shot, and hear from national news anchors that their efforts in the broadcast and video classes are paying off.”

After nearly 2,000 students and community members showed up for the 4 a.m. live shooting of Good Morning America on October 9, the school’s vibrancy and spirit was put on display for the national media. In only the second year of the C3 Media Academy, the video contest was proof that Spanish Springs is capable of representing the Washoe County School District, and northern Nevada, well.

“Last year we won over $2,000 in scholarships and prizes for entering national video competitions, but no one really knows that,” Bowers said of the media academy. “It feels wonderful to get this recognition for my students and their hard work in my classes.”

More than 1,000 entries were submitted for Perry to choose which school she would hold a free concert at later this year. With more than 200,000 hits on Youtube, and comments from Gov. Brian Sandoval and people in South America, Bowers said the video shows students collaborated and conquered.

“This was definitely a team effort,” he said. “From pilot Paul Adamson and aerial videographer Roman Hartze, to Peyton Peltier and Nick Sorrentino of Hill Lane Productions, to our Booster Club and of course our students and staff, it was a wonderful experience and truly a collaborative effort.”

Bowers called the project one of the highlights of his career and said it was fun to see Sparks take the spotlight on a national stage.

Now that the contest has passed, the environment is largely normal at Spanish Springs High, which is not far removed from 2,000 crazies parading in the school at 4 a.m. Though Spanish Springs is one of the youngest schools in the district at just 12 years old, its population forms the largest school in the district. Bowers said the community, not just students, are beginning to realize the power of purple.

“Our school has always seemed like we are stuck in the middle of the pack; in academics, graduation rates, etc,” Bowers said. “But for the last few weeks, Cougar students, staff and parents are walking a little taller and when you wear SSHS purple into the community, people take notice — it's truly remarkable.”

Bowers said the effects of the video contest will be felt in the C3 Media Academy for years to come as students and parents were able to see the benefit of enrolling in broadcast journalism or video production classes.

“I hope that parents and students see that Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes, like broadcast journalism and video production, can give kids real-world experience and training while they are still in high school,” Bowers said. “These classes are hands-on and project based and allow kids to gain technical skills that they used to only get in college.

“I know that when my girls get to high school, I will make them enroll in CTE classes, at least so they know if their chosen career field is right for them before I spend $30,000 for them to find that out at UNR.”
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