"This is the sixth year I've worked on the videos," noted Steve Beydler, instructor of the TV production class. "The first two years, I did most of the work, but now the students do the majority of it."
For years students of SCTC's video program created the video presentation for the Farmers Recognition Banquet, which is scheduled for Thursday. Copies of the video are made for each of the four families honored each year, Beydler said.
But the Farmers Banquet isn't the only project the video students work on each year. They also show Sikeston Senior High's football and basketball home games live and pre-taped away games.
Beydler said he feels a majority of the public knows the station is run by SCTC video class students, but they may not realize how difficult of a job it actually is. "It's really become a part of our community," Beydler said about the cable access station. "People expect us to be on. If someone's grandson is graduating, rather than taping it themselves, they know we'll rerun the graduation a couple of times and tape it then."
Next to Sikeston, the closest schools that have their own TV stations are in Cape Girardeau, Perryville and Farmington. "We try to get the kids who want to have a career in video production," Beydler noted. "However, this is high school so half of the kids who come through do it because they like sports or they want to learn about taping."
SCTC's TV production is a two-year program consisting of three class hours a day for juniors and seniors only. The second year is completely hands-on while the first year is more theory oriented. Students learn to operate the camera directly, Beydler said.
Currently 22 students are participating in the program, Beydler said. SCTC is considered an area vocational school so the facility is also utilized by nine other school districts including Kelly, Bernie and Oran schools, he explained.
"It's a good program," Beydler said. "We've had success with the kids who want to apply themselves and take the opportunity given to them and strive beyond the high school job."
Operation of Sikeston Public School's cable access channel 12 began in the spring of 1974, recalled Rodney McConnell, director of video services and operator of the cable TV access channel.
"The unique thing about the program is it gives hands-on experience to the students. It's a necessity for students to have a real experience with real programming," McConnell said. "It's a mini version of the real world."
In 1998, the district wanted to expand the program and divide it into two parts: instruction and studio. Beydler became an instructor and McConnell, who had been teaching students and running the studio in previous years, began running the studio only.
"Mr. Beydler came along and took over teaching of the students on a day-to-day basis so I would have more time to devote to community- type programming, informational programming and also maintaining the various facilities that we have here," McConnell explained.
Both Beydler and McConnell noted the program's training has helped boost the careers of several former students. One example is Marty Garner, who is currently working in Hollywood on several blends of video and film. He went on to graduate from the American Film Institute and his credits include working on "Apollo 13," "Fear" and "The Firm." Another student has worked for Country Music Television network in Nashville, Tenn., and several of former students have and currently work for KFVS-12 TV in Cape Girardeau, McConnell said.
Chad Pender, a 2003 Kelly High School graduate, completed SCTC's program and works as a production assistant for KFVS.
At KFVS, Pender works newscasts, and most recently he's been a character generator, which means preparing the text that pops up under a person on the screen and other graphics such as maps. Sometimes he works studio cameras, he added.
If Pender wouldn't have taken the SCTC video course, he admitted he wouldn't have gotten his job at KFVS because he wouldn't have the knowledge of how things work in the video production industry.
"Basically when I went into the program, I had little knowledge of the video process. After the two-year program, I learned a lot more of the process and how things are done," Pender said.
For instance, Pender said he learned both the old analog machine as well as the new age of editing and the new digital process through the SCTC program.
"Overall it's a great program," Pender said. "Anyone who thinks they might be interested in doing something like that, they should give it a shot."