MAP students film promotional video for SHS Foundation

March 28, 2023 — by Jonathan Si and Stephanie Sun
MAP students gather at the entrance of the track field to film a thank you scene for the SHS Foundation on March 9, 2023.
Junior Kai Otsuka and senior Miranda Yee filmed and edited the video seeking to raise awareness for the SHS Foundation.

As students gathered around the entrance to the track field on March 9, junior Kai Otsuka held up both his camera to film a group of students saying thank you to the SHS Foundation, a scene for a promotional video — which he had to film twice.

“It was a challenge since the first time, since we only got four or five people,” Otsuka said. “I also had to film the audio with my phone since the camera was so far away [that it] couldn’t pick anything up.”

Principal Greg Louie posted the promotional video on March 10. Filmed and edited by Otsuka and senior Miranda Yee, the video sought to raise awareness for the Foundation among students and parents. 

The video features interviews with students around campus, as well as text overlays explaining what the foundation is and some recent projects it has funded like new classroom desks, iMacs in classrooms and outdoor lunch tables. 

According to Foundation president Tom Cobourn, the group mainly funds classroom equipment, campus improvements and social-emotional programs using funds raised from parents.

Teachers and administrators can submit grant requests using a Google form found on the website; every month, the Foundation’s Board of Directors — made up by parents and Louie — reviews and decides which grants to fund.

The creation process of the video first began back in October 2022, when MAP English teacher Jason Friend introduced the idea in a MAP leadership meeting, which is hosted every few weeks. 

After volunteering to take up the project, Otsuka and Yee spoke to Cobourn about the goal of the foundation and what points they should include in the video.

“Working with Kai and Miranda was a dream come true,” Cobourn said. “All they needed was one Zoom meeting where I stepped through each page of the website and answered their questions. Then they did the rest, requiring no oversight or intervention.” 

Due to time conflicts with finals and Yee’s college applications, Otsuka said they were unable to fully work on the video until after winter break.

During filming, Otsuka and Yee traveled around campus during tutorial to interview students. Yee then cut some of the footage and put it in the right order, finding the “specific sound bites that [she] wanted.” 

Finally, Otsuka cleaned up the cut and added the final text in the video. Though there was no specific time limit, he said that it was important for the video to not be too long.

“We limited how much time was spent talking,” Otsuka said. “We didn’t include the parts where we asked the questions to keep it fast paced and engaging since we were hoping parents would be interested in watching the video.”

Cobourn emphasized raising awareness for parents since he said some wonder why the Foundation is needed. Although the district also gets funding from other sources like local property taxes, Cobourn said after paying for salaries, bills and maintenance, there’s “not much left.”

“Classroom furniture is a good example,” he said. “The school had a lot of classrooms that needed new, more reconfigurable furniture, but it could not be covered by the normal district budget. The old campus had too many other issues, like leaky roofs, to fix first, so the Foundation stepped in to fund new furniture. We’ve done it for 26 classrooms so far, with some more coming this summer.”

In the end, Yee, Otsuka and Cobourn all found the video very successful. Yee even attended the board meeting where they showed the video, recalling that the board members were really happy about it.

 “The video was attention grabbing, imaginative and even humorous at points, yet very informative” Cobourn said. “They did a really professional job, which should be no surprise coming from students in our MAP program.”

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