Williams students place second in Jim Harbin Media Festival


Williams students Danielle Haddox, Jossie Barillas and Brett Bolton pose with teacher Jim Kurowski.

VIERA VOICE Julie Sturgeon


Television production students from Ralph Williams Elementary recently placed second in the Jim Harbin Media Festival.  Williams was the only school in Brevard County to receive a state level award this year.

The Jim Harbin Student Media Festival was created in honor of Jim Harbin, a former consultant with the Florida Department of Education who initiated a statewide student media festival.

“There was a lot of excitement and pride from parents and teachers in accomplishing the goal and making it to the conference,” said music and TV production teacher Jim Kurowski.  “Students had to place first among six counties before even going to state.”

The prize-winning story is the tale of a tribal queen who was kidnapped and rescued.  The 3-minute video was written, filmed and edited by Danielle Haddox, Brett Bolton and Jossie Barillas, fifth graders in the Video Production class at Williams.

Video Production is a unique class in which students create videos in the categories of drama, news, comedy or public service.  Videos range from 1 to 7 minutes and must be approved by Kurowski.

“Sometimes they do blue screen effect in which characters are super-imposed with the sky or other backgrounds,” said Kurowski, who has been teaching at Williams since 1999.

Students apply for one of 12 openings a year for the chance to participate in the program.  Students create their own stories from a storyboard.  They film it on campus, then return to the classroom for editing and production.

“One of our program’s highlights was a video on bullying which went to the international media festival,” Kurowski said.  “Sometimes very powerful messages are created.”

Kurowski, who has a master’s in educational technology, said the program’s attendance is limited so that all students have ample time to use the equipment: three cameras and four computers, including new iMacs costing about $2,500 each. Kurowski has written grants for new cameras and equipment during his tenure, and the original videotaping machines have been replaced with digital equipment.

“Williams has consistently placed at the state level since 1999 with our video productions,” said Kurowski, who is rightfully proud of this accomplishment.