Creativity leading to employment for young people in the Central Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Creativity is leading to employment for young people in the Central Valley!

As Action News reporter Jason Oliveira explains, teenagers are directing and producing their own movies and some of them are finding jobs as a result.

High school curriculum has certainly changed.

Students at Sunnyside High can now choose to take part in the school's video production academy, along with their core studies.

They get real hands-on experience producing their own movies and live broadcasts while earning college credit at the same time.

"They have access to tri-caster so they can do broadcast off the green screen on virtual sets. They have access to any camera. We have so many cameras and tripods and very cool things to make any video they have in their head come to life," said Video Production Academy Coordinator Katie McQuone.

The three-year program is run under the watchful eye if McQuone.

She is there to guide the students through various projects but the creativity comes solely from them. The best part is they are learning critical problem-solving skills that will only help them in the future, no matter which field they choose.

"I try to tell them this all the time, even if you don't want to go into video for the rest of your life you're going to have so many skills in whatever industry you go into, working on a deadline, working with a group of people, working on technology," said McQuone.

Aleya Avalos is a senior with acting aspirations.

She decided to enroll in Sunnyside's video production academy to get a better understanding of what life is like behind the scenes of a movie set.

"I feel like this will help because it'll give me a sense of what the director would want and it'll help me as an actress. Okay I should face this way towards the camera or do this sort of emotion, how the audience would feel," said Avalos.

2015 Sunnyside graduate Gabby Rodriguez has taken what she learned from the class and made a career out of it.

She was able to parlay her education into a production job with the Fresno Grizzlies and Fresno Football Club.

"I started off doing slow-mo, then I transitioned into directing--so I'll direct a crew of like four guys on the cameras," said Rodriguez.

You'll find gabby at every home game directing the in-house telecasts and scoreboard replays.

"My fellow students who graduated with me took a lot of valuable information from here. They're a lot farther now than where they were and I think this really helped them jump-start their career path," said Rodriquez.

The grant-funded program is only keeping students motivated to earn this high school diploma but preparing them for a four-year university while getting them industry ready.

Every year, students from all over the Valley submit their videos in a competition called the Slick Rock Student Film Festival and what they are producing is amazing!

Our new Children First special: "Ready for the real world" airs tonight at 6:30 p.m., right here on ABC 30.

ABC30 thanks its partners below for putting Children First in the Central Valley.

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