MMSD freshman and sophomores expand their tech skills in ITA summer camp

In an immersive and engaging two-week journey, freshmen and sophomores from MMSD schools came together at the 9th and 10th Grade ITA Camps to explore the realms of technology and creativity. With a rich blend of educational experiences, team-building activities, and industry field trips, the camps provided a platform for participants to enhance their skills, build lasting friendships, and broaden their horizons.

Freshmen campers had a unique opportunity to dive into the world of college and technology, as they explored different colleges and programs, began to learn about potential educational pathways, and the different fields in technology. This allowed students to start thinking about their future academic pursuits while fostering a sense of community among their peers. This Fall, they will enter their first year of high school with this experience to support them.

Students also got to learn about cybersecurity, Adobe Photoshop and assembling and disassembling a computer. Adding excitement to the learning process, the students embarked on field trips to tech giants like Epic and Zendesk, where they got an inside look at the inner workings of these industry leaders. Their camp experience culminated in a presentation about themselves to their full group of 30 as the audience. They showed the results of their Photoshop collages, photos of them taking apart a computer, and what they find to be their favorite use of “many uses” of computers.

Freshman taking a computer apart.
Freshman taking apart a computer.

Meanwhile, the sophomore participants took part in an exhilarating film camp. This experience not only honed their technical skills but also allowed them to express their creativity through the medium of film. The film camp served as a unique platform for sophomores to showcase their storytelling abilities while forming strong bonds with their fellow peers. Overall, they produced around 70 videos. They learned to write and format screenplays, they explored the role of cinematography using camera phones and DSLR equipment, and editing using Adobe Premiere. Students also attended workshops put on by the ITA technology instructional staff on Directing, Cinematography, Sound Design and Recording on set, Writing, Advanced Editing Techniques and Theory, Light Painting, and Stop Motion animation styles.

As the two weeks unfolded, there were numerous highlights that left a lasting impact on the participants. A picnic offered an opportunity for campers to relax and enjoy nature while bonding with their newfound friends. The pinnacle of the program was undoubtedly the ITA Showcase, where students exhibited their creations and projects. With AJ Daughtry Krill hosting, film projects including an At-Home Blitz, Where I’m From Film, 24-hour Blitz, and final group films – written and produced by student groups – delighted the audience of 9th and 10th graders with their families. Several 9th grade students also volunteered to present about their experience at camp, showing off their Photoshop Collages and discussing their favorite parts of their experience. The final video was a highlight reel of the entire film camp experience, captured by tech instructors throughout camp, and edited by Ashlie Hewett. The showcase was a testament to the dedication and hard work put in by each participant and underscored the significance of technology and creativity in shaping their futures.

Instructor Noah Lopez teaching film editing in Adobe Premiere to the sophomores.
Instructor Noah Lopez teaching film editing in Adobe Premiere to the sophomores.

Leading the ITA students’ journey were dedicated staff members Excell Williams and AJ Daughtry Krill, who provided guidance, support, and expertise throughout the program. Moreover, ITA student hourlies, Nallely Pindea-Ortiz, Mark Hurst, Emma Green, Marianna Helgeson, Elizabeth Troiano, Noah Lopez, Ashlie Hewett, Nick Moore-Barbosa, Cassandra Angeles, Jeremyah Williams, Khaleilei Kidau, Paul Lema, Savannah Aroonsavath, Joua Lor, Miguel Abrajan-Gonzalez, and Eli Fox Baker played a crucial role in assisting with the organization and execution of various activities, contributing to the overall success of the camps. With their insights and encouragement, students were able to navigate the complexities of technology and creativity in a fun and approachable way.

ITA would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to all participants for their enthusiasm, curiosity, and energy; families for their communication and commitment to participate; and to the staff, who made it all possible. The collaborative spirit displayed by everyone truly made the ITA summer camps an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.