Students from the Central Educational Center have become one of the most-awarded schools at the Student Production Awards in the past 13 years.
At the Sept. 9 meeting of the Coweta County Board of Education, CEC production students and staff were recognized for their nominations in this year’s Student Emmys, hosted by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Southeast Chapter Foundation.
Awards were held in July at the Georgia Film Academy located at Trillith Studios, in Fayetteville. CEC had nominations in five categories: Music Video, Public Service Announcement, Commercial Audio/Sound and Talent/Performer.
Students nominees were Grant Weaver - Music Video, Public Service Announcement, and Commercial; Bo Brewer - Music Video; Spencer Jackson - Music Video; Harrison Ashlock - Public Service Announcement; Harrison Bryan - Audio/Sound; and Darrin Smith - Public Service Announcement and Talent/Performer.
Weaver won in the Commercial category for his Web Series, “Unaware.” The award-winning entry will be submitted to the National Student Production Awards for consideration. Weaver is currently a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Mark Whitlock, Central’s CEO, introduced Michael Britt, who headed the production program until moving into a communications role in the superintendent’s office this year.
“Mr. Britt was recently honored by The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle for his leadership in starting and developing Student Production Awards in the Southeast,” Whitlock said.
Britt said a host of CEC students contributed to but were not named in this year’s nominations and awards. He showed Weaver’s nominated music video, a live studio cover of the Beatles’ “In My Life” performed by Spencer Jackson and his dad, Paul, guitarist for the band Blackberry Smoke.
“This effort saw more than 20 students working on this project over a four-week period, including one very exhausting Saturday,” Britt said. “This just goes to show you the quality of the work these kids were doing.”
Whitlock thanked stakeholders who helped start the CEC video program 23 years ago, including Laura Horton and Jake Barton of the WOW National Communications team.
“We are grateful to Laura and Jake for their work to add coaching and support that makes a significant difference for our interns in the productions we do, and in competition for Student Production Awards,” Whitlock said.
Principal David Dement introduced faculty members who directly impact students’ efforts. They included:
Pat Patten, audio: Patten is an industry veteran recognized among Grammy artists. His team at CEC has begun the first-ever high school Audio Engineering Society chapter.
Natalie Hynson, graphics: Hynson is an industry veteran. She has spent personal time outside the classroom learning ways to teach “motion graphics” from video industry professionals.
Kelli Jeffries, dramatic writing: Jeffries is among the first teachers in Georgia to pilot the Georgia Film Academy/GaDOE Dramatic Writing course.
Emily High-Massengill, video: High was a student in the legacy program that began CEC Video Production. Now an industry veteran, she is teaching students to view the industry from the perspective and skill set of a producer.
Several CEC production students were on hand for the recognition, and they expressed their appreciation for the opportunities provided by the program.
“If it was not for this program, I would not be on my way to finding what I love, to finding my passion in life, and I’m forever grateful for that,” said Mia Kessler, one of Patten’s audio engineering interns.