Six Monache High School students have won an array of awards, including a sweep — first, second and third place wins in one category — in the “Picture the Valley Film Festival” Award Ceremony held last Thursday at Maya Cinemas in Fresno as an online event.

MHS Multimedia and Technology Academy instructor Robert Styles said he didn't want to say anything until he showed all his students the winning videos in class, which he did on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. And when he did, the students clapped and were happy for each other. Styles said he could tell they were smiling under their masks.

“They really are like a family. They are very supportive of one another,” Styles said.

The winning films were in Public Safety Announcement, Personal Narrative and Documentary.

The online welcome video included Kopi Sotiropulos of KMPH FOX 26 congratulating all the students, and letting them know they're not the film makers of tomorrow, but of today.

“You are the film makers of today,” Sotiropulos said. “You are doing it. You got the idea, you put it together and you created the images, beautiful pictures and movies.”

The festival attracted more than 50 entries from an approximate dozen high schools, Styles said.

“Our students have worked so hard this year, and it makes me proud to see their work being recognized and awarded,” Styles said. “I truly love my job and one of the best parts about it is getting to watch these students develop their skills over the years and discover new talents within themselves. Their creativity and excitement inspires me on a daily basis. I’m lucky to be their teacher.”

Among the students winning awards were:

  • 1st Place Documentary — Kailyn Castle — "College Advice for Seniors"

  • 3rd Place Documentary — Andrea Fernandez — "Mi Familia"

  • 1st Place PSA — Daniel Vigil — "Disinfecting Your Phone"

  • 2nd Place PSA — Angie Tran — "Wash Your Hands"

  • 3rd Place PSA — Berenize Bermudez — "COVID-19 Safety Guidelines"

  • 1st Place Police Brutality & Racial Inequality PSA — Tim Duran — "Say Their Names"

“It’s a great program. Robert Styles has done a great job with the students,” said Eric Barba, MHS principal. “We’re very proud of our multimedia technology academy students. They did a great job. It’s real-world application of current topics. It’s exciting. These are the leaders of our next generation, leading Porterville and leading our country.”

The winning videos may be viewed at https://picturethevalley.org/ptv2021

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