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Middle school students invade Elizabeth Forward media center

| Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 1:26 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Trib Total Media
Elizabeth Forward freshman Robert Queen plays electric guitar while attending a district Summer Innovation Camp on video and audio production while instructor Katie Betler and seventh-grader John McMeans monitor the recording at a digital audio workstation.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Trib Total Media
Eliza, 10, and Bran Czerniak, 12, and Adrianne Maola, 9, learn green screen and other video production techniques during a Summer Innovation Camp at Elizabeth Forward High School. . The program was part of a series of weeklong course the district is offering through the Sprout Fund.

The media center at Elizabeth Forward High School was an interesting tornado of scripts, sock puppets, electric guitars and drawings this week and middle schoolers were at the center of it all.

They were participating in a weeklong music and video production course that culminated with an abundance of creative offerings on CD and DVDs.

The program was part of the district's ongoing Summer Innovation Camps program that receives sponsorship from the Sprout Fund. The programs began in July and continue for another two weeks.

Most of the free courses were geared toward technology instruction on subjects like video games, robotics and digital photography, though the list of course offerings included gardening, cooking and scrapbooking.

The audio and video class was well-suited for the media center, which was remodeled last year through a Grable Foundation grant to include audio and video production studios.

District fourth-grader Teddi Pavlack worked diligently on a video project this week that involves puppets. She wrote a script and recruited eighth-graders Hayley Palmer and Harley Muir — who just cut a demo duet of the song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” on CD – to man the puppets in her production.

“I like to draw, too,” said Teddi, who had plans of having her video open with a shot of Justin Bieber being thrown into a volcano never to return. Teddi said the puppetry would be performed in front of a green screen and that she was working on a way to include the “Snowman” song in the show.

Joram Stith, an eighth-grader who just moved to the area from North Dakota, made a recording of himself playing the “Cantina” song from Star Wars on baritone.

“It was done before they had computers doing all the music,” Joram said of the original music from the movie. The young musician said he planned to make an MP3 of the song when he was done and design cover art for a CD.

Katie Betler, who was one of the instructors facilitating the program, said students were fully engaged with the lesson plan.

“They want to take their work home with them,” she said. “They want to take it farther than what we are doing here.”

The program is entering its final two weeks with classes on 3D modeling and cooking.

For more information, call the district at 412-896-2387.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or

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