A winning tradition continues in Thomson as three local students recently won awards in the 2009 International Student Media Festival.
The competition begins locally at the school level, according to THS media specialist Jennifer Newton, then moves to district, state and international levels. A total of seven international projects were entered from McDuffie County.
Thomson High School students Chris Pin and Kandy Reece won in the grades 9-12 Sequential Skills competition. Chris made a movie, "Self-Solving Rubik's Cube" and Kandy made a children's book on PowerPoint titled "Dear Daddy." Thomson Middle School's Clinton Terry won in the grades 6-8 Animation competition with his movie, "Idiom Comic Strip: A James Bond Movie."
The ISMF is sponsored by the Association for Educational Communications and Technology and encourages students to use live action video, Web site design, animation and photography in their studies. According to the Web site, high school students increase their abilities to plan, analyze and interpret results when creating such projects. And cooperation and leadership flourish where student media is encouraged.
In the past, Thomson High School had four students win the event in 2005 -- Erica Green, Brian Crapps, Danielle Moore and Rainne Austin; Madalyn Johnson and Kalyn Kitchings won in 2007, and Mackenzie Mullins won in 2008.
What normally takes Chris Pin half of a minute to accomplish took him five hours to capture on camera.
Using stop motion on video, the Thomson High School senior created a movie of a Rubik's cube solving itself.
"As far as me actually solving the Rubik cube, my best timing is about 35 seconds," Chris said. "But making the movie was a lot harder than I thought ... I was sweating when I made it, trying to get it just right."
Chris achieved "just right" by moving the cube slightly, then setting it on a table and taking a picture of it. He repeated the process hundreds of times, then used iMovie to complete the project.
The project was an assignment for Vonda Calhoun's foundations for engineering class when he was a junior.
Paying attention to details -- he originally thought of using a webcam but decided a Canon PowerShot would give better quality pictures -- earned Chris a 100 on the assignment.
"He's a great student," Dr. Calhoun said. "If you ask him to work, he's willing to work. Chris goes above and beyond the call of duty and does great, great work."
Now a senior, Chris is part of the school's morning news team -- as the cameraman, of course. He also plays the mellophone and French horn in the marching band. After graduation, he plans to attend "a four-year college" then go to medical school and become a psychiatrist.
"I just like helping people," he said.
But for now, he's just having fun. He put his Rubik cube video, and several other of his videos, on YouTube. It can be found under "LittleFetis" and "Self-Solving Rubik's Cube."
"I've got a bunch of subscribers, so I'm happy," he said.