Congratulations are in order for Monache High School’s Multimedia and Technology Academy (MTA) Pathway after 19 Marauders won awards in The Friends of Tulare County (FTC) Listos CV19 Youth Media Challenge.

The purpose of the competition was to highlight youth-created art focused on promoting COVID-19 safety guidelines in languages representing Tulare County, utilizing three categories: audio, graphic design, and video,” states the FTC website.

A total of five high schools and 30 students participated in the challenge, but Monache was by far the biggest winner. Of the 18 winning entries, Monache claimed 10 through individual and group entries. 

To top it all off, Monache garnered even more attention with its winning work when it was displayed and heard through various mediums throughout the county, showing its efforts weren’t just an assignment but a true public awareness campaign.

When our students are allowed opportunities like this one, they see the true purpose behind their education: their skills contribute to more than just a grade book, but to society,” graphic design teacher Monica Toriz, said. “This is what we want for all of our students.”

By far, the biggest display is Le Monke’s winning graphic design entry, located on a billboard at the corner of Road 232 and Avenue 96 in Terra Bella. Le Monke — the group of Bernardo Espinoza, Miguel Espinoza, Francisco Ruan, and Arthur Castillo — designed a graphic with the “I wear my mask for…” theme that highlights field workers. 

We ended up creating a design that pictures a field worker with an orange branch in the background and in text we put ‘I wear a mask for our workers’ as a way to encourage them to wear masks while working and to stay safe,” Espinoza said.

Espinoza also explained the group chose field workers because they were relatable in Tulare County and had been missing in previous campaigns despite their abundance and importance to the area and nation.

My group’s thought process when creating our design was to somehow get people of Tulare County to relate to our design,” Espinoza said. “A large portion of Tulare County is made up (of) agriculture workers that supply products not only to California, but also to the whole country. We felt the need to target agricultural farm workers because many of our family members, including some group members, work in agriculture, and we had noticed that there weren't many advertisements targeting them during this time concerning the pandemic.”

Along with the billboard, other Monache students reported hearing or seeing their entries on radio or television, respectively. Berenize Bermudez was one of those students. 

Bermudez made a 30-second video titled “COVID-19 Safety Guidelines” explaining different steps to prevent the virus’ spread. She said she heard audio from her video on 104.9 FM and learned it had also played on 99.7 FM and TV station FOX 26.

It is honestly an amazing feeling knowing that a video I had made is playing on the radio and the TV,” Bermudez told MTA Coordinator Nathan Wallis.

Wallis said the MTA pathway uses competitions like Listos CV19 Youth Media Challenge to give students an idea of what it’s like to work with clients and their needs. And with this challenge, in particular, it gave students a chance to know what it means and feels like to be published. 

It’s pretty impactful that they get to see their work on display,” Wallis said. “They’re published people now. And that’s something amazing for a kid that’s in high school to see on a billboard. That’s impressive. They get to see something that is published and put out there and put out to the public, it's really a great thing.”

Toriz in graphic design and Robert Styles in video production were the teachers who worked closely with students on their projects. In September, the challenge took place, and classes used Zoom breakout rooms to collaborate and share ideas. 

When the submissions took place, we all celebrated together the idea that we were able to get something done that was from a real client, asking for specific information, to be used in a public forum,” Toriz said. “Students knew immediately their work had to meet the needs of the client, but with the purpose of serving the public. This was the opportunity that many students wait for: How can we use our skills to create an impact beyond the classroom?”

Toriz said as time passed, students started to receive phone calls and emails in such a high volume she wondered if they could all be winners. When they realized how many of them had won, Toriz said the class went silent. 

The moment students realized their work was taken seriously was silent, where you could hear the ‘wow’ in their minds,” Toriz said. “One student saw a billboard on her way out of town, took a snapshot, and shared it with us, where I displayed it for the whole class. On the camera, you could see students react by clapping or showing the clapping reaction button. We couldn't believe it. Student work was displayed publicly on a huge billboard!”

Wallis said the MTA Pathway is still doing more competitions, and for those who are considering joining MTA, to see it as a place to explore their creativity. 

You don’t have to have that ultimate goal of, this is the industry I want to work in, but if you have a passion for it in some way shape or form, then it gives you that creative outlet to be within a pathway,” Wallis said. “Build these friendships and build these bonds with people that are like-minded and have the same kind of passions you do. We also give them tools and some skills and things that they can use to build up their ability to go into whatever workforce that they want to go into.”

The complete list of Monache High School 2020 Listos CV19 Youth Media Challenge Winners is: Public Service Announcement (Individual) — Berenize Bermudez, Aimee King, Adison Page; Graphic Design (Individual) — Kyla Castillo, Antonio Rodriguez, Zoey Surgenor, and Lluvia Zepeda-Chavez; and Graphic Design (Group) — Bernardo Espinoza, Miguel Espinoza, Francisco Ruan, and Arthur Castillo (Le Monke), Evan Drummond, Gabriel Nuno, Kelley Mangmoradeth, and Damarione Lewis (The Cool Guys), and Sebastian Martinez, Alonso Robles-Ciseneros, Joshua Mosqueda, and Andrew Rivera (The Three Musketeers).

Find the full list of winners and their entries at https://friendsoftularecounty.org/index.cfm/english/programs/listos-cv19-youth-media-challenge/.

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