“Youth Voices” at John Burroughs High School

John Burroughs High School | Funded Spring 2015

In order to give his students the opportunity to partner with a local company and create videos about issues that mattered to them, Richard Lightfoot looked to the media companies in town to help him. When the first partnership he secured fell through, he was determined to ensure that his students were able to get this valuable and life-changing experience. First, the class worked with Friends of the LA River (FOLAR), who did a two day in-class workshop with the students. Next, Mr. Lightfoot participated in a 7-day “Visual Thinking Strategies” training with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). From this, he was able to have his students study art and then use what they learned to interpret the social message of a favorite piece of art and created a movie using the art as the establishing shot. Next, the students worked with the “Every 15 Minutes” program, which creates awareness on the dangers of drinking and driving. The students worked to produce a  20-minute video about drunk driving, gaining hands-on experience in all aspects, writing, directing, and editing everything on their own.

Even though the project did not turn out how it was originally planned, the students took away valuable lessons and skills. According to Mr. Lightfoot, “Many students left the class with the realization that they can make a difference. For me, the level of pride these kids took in their work warmed my heart. Seeing kids almost cry when they saw their work being presented and how it made them feel to realize that they might be making a difference to others, this is what I found most successful.”

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