FORT SILL, Okla. --Three Fort Sill teens recently brought home top honors in a regional club tech digital arts contest for making a movie.

Demetrius Vassar, Walter Angeles and Dynisha Cordero entered the 8th Annual Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals through the Fort Sill Teen Center. Their entry, An Educational Story, brought home the top honor for the Southwest region in the 16-18 age group.
It creatively captured the theme of depicting the greatness within their club through a unique form of artistic expression to create a digital piece of art in the Movie Tech category, according to a press release from Digital Arts Festivals.

"We thought about a lot of different ideas on what we could do for our entry and decided to do a spin-off of 'A Christmas Story,' which is why it's called 'An Educational Story.' We used the Mac i movie and Final Cut Pro software to make the movie," said Vassar, an 18-year-old high school graduate who plans on studying software engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology this fall.

"It took us about a week and we first had to create our clip and we went around post and to the Patriot Club to make it more dynamic. The story is about a girl, Dynisha Cordero, who was the star of the show. Walter was another student and I was the mysterious ghost. We had a fourth girl help us with it but it was a three-person team so she just helped us out by playing a reporter in the movie."

The students took about a week to make the movie and did most of the filming outside the Patriot Club. "We used multiple cameras for several different angles," said Angeles. "The Youth Center Technology lab supplied us with really nice cameras and tripods."

Tavarius Warren, functional technology specialist, Child, Youth and School Services, assisted the movie makers with the project. "He mentored us and made sure we had the cameras placed where they needed to be," said Vassar. "It took us two hours outdoors at the Patriot Club and then we went to the Youth Center to shoot the indoor scenes. We got several students walking in talking about their day and Cordero is talking about how being in school is dull and isn't really helping her. Then the ghost pops out, which is me, and asks her, what would happen if she didn't go to school'"

Cordero then sees what her life would be like if she didn't finish high school and the ghost shows her future if she finishes and then continues on to college. "Cordero learns through her flashbacks and future glimpses from the ghost how important school is and she goes on to become a doctor," said Vassar. "Cordero had the idea for the movie and the theme had to be about importance of school and to be creative.

"We used Blue Tooth mikes to be sure if the actors were far away it would still be crystal clear. "The tech lab supported us because we used our classes on digital film making and script writing to do the project," said Vassar. "We just started using Mac book so it was different from the PC and it took us a little time to learn the i movie program and we learned a lot of new special ideas. We learned how to export to DVD. It took us a while to learn but we learned it in the Tech Club and were able to collaborate together to make the movie."

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America along with founding sponsor Microsoft and Comcast gave a set of objectives that we need to work on and we had to feed off of that and use our creativity to show how being in high school is important to create our masterpiece," said Vassar.

Angeles, who will be a senior in high school this year, said he plans on a career in 3-D animation, creating video games and cut scenes. "I'm still looking for a college to attend," he said. "I still have a year to decide so I was just glad to do this project and spend time together with my friends."

Vassar and Angeles agreed the main reward of this project was having fun together. "We created the out takes and seeing us screw up. It lets us go back and look at our work and even see the room for improvement," said Vassar. "The contest was also sponsored by Best Buy and they gave each of us a $75 gift card."

In contests held locally, regionally and nationally, the Digital Arts Festivals celebrate the creativity and technical abilities of area Boys & Girls Clubs of America members. Members are encouraged to combine these elements to generate a digital masterpiece in one of four categories-photo illustration, music production, filmmaking and graphic design. From magazine ads and bumper stickers or billboards, to clay animations or PSAs and digital music, the artwork was judged based on age, artistic merit and demonstrated technological skills of the members.

"Technology know-how is almost always expected in the world today. So it is important we help spark the imagination, and help our youth discover potential career paths so that they will be well-prepared for the future. The Club Tech Digital Arts Festival does just that. It helps develop members' creativity and allows them to play with the limitless possibilities of their imagination," said Warren. "The experience gained from this event will help carry our young people through grade school into college and into the career world."

The festivals are just one way that Boys & Girls Clubs, founding sponsor Microsoft and Comcast hope to technologically enable more than 4.2 million youth served by some 4,000 Clubs nationwide and abroad through club membership and community outreach. Club Tech also provides software, develops and delivers curricula, and provides program management and computer training for staff and youth. The sponsorship allows Clubs to integrate technology into every aspect of the organizations' fabric, from overall management to core programs.

"I think it is important that we expose our youth to technology as much as we can. Technological proficiency will be really important for them not only in their career path but also in their day-to-day lives," said Warren. "Technology is moving at such a fast pace that it is important for our youth to grab a hold of it and become more accustomed to not only having it around but using it as well. I believe that the activities that we participated in the Digital Arts Festival is great way of exposing our youth to all of the day-to-day uses for technology in our life. However, the bigger purpose for competing in the festival is to introduce youth to activities that can lead them into a career path for the future."