High school students in the YMCA Lighthouse Project at Westinghouse High School participated in the Youth Media Advocacy Project beginning in January, 2010.
The students began by holding discussions about education issues with two Carlow University students, a mass media major and a public relations major, and with the Youth Media Advocacy Project director.
The high school students created survey questions about education and then surveyed their teachers and peers.
The students were concerned about a number of different issues regarding their educational experiences, but focused in on identifying effective teaching techniques.
The Youth Media Advocacy Project arranged for the students to meet with Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors member Sharene Shealey (who represents the Westinghouse HS district). The high school students expressed their opinions to Ms. Shealey, who listened intently and took notes. Ms. Shealey also told the students of the importance of getting community and parental support for improved education.
In collaboration with the YMCA Lighthouse Project Director James Brown and Gateway for the Arts, documentary filmmaker Billy Jackson helped the students create a professional video, using equipment brought in by another collaborator, PCTV-21. The students conducted on-camera interviews with Ms. Shealey, teachers, other students, Pittsburgh Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools Derrick Lopez, and school staff members. The students shared the results of their survey with each interviewee and asked for their reaction. The high school students then edited the interviews into a short video piece.
Darlene Terry, outreach director for PCTV-21, also presented to the Carlow students as part of Carlow's Youth Media Advocacy course (CM 400).
Westinghouse YMCA Lighthouse students on the set of WPXI-TV. (click pic to view larger)
One of the Carlow students arranged for the high school students to tour the studios of WPXI-TV station. The Carlow students and the high school students met with two well-known local anchors Darieth Chisholm and David Johnson, and then sat in on the set for the 5 o'clock news anchored by David Johnson and Peggy Finnegan.
The YMCA Westinghouse Lighthouse students' video, Behind the Books, had its premier screening on April 26, 2010 at Carlow's Kresge Theatre, as part of the Youth Media Advocacy Project Expo, in front of an audience of community leaders, Carlow faculty and students, and other high school students.
The video was screened again in June at the Carnegie Library of Homewood in front of an audience of local leaders, community members and parents.
Copies of the video are being provided to Pittsburgh Public Schools administration. The video will also air on PCTV-21.
When asked about her learning experience with the Youth Media Advocacy Project, Chanessa Shuler (Carlow University Senior, Mass Media major), said the following:
"This had to be the best learning experience ever. These students have contributed to my understanding of experiential learning. I had a hands-on experience using media to make change."
Carlow University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the
US. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.