4-State Flashback

Regional events like the “ASB 4-State Conference” last weekend give broadcast and video production students the chance to attend some breakout sessions, and then compete against their peers in some creative contests.

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There were about 350 in attendance this year, and my students, all 20 of them, had a great time. They also got smoked in a few contests, while taking home a few honors as well. Events like this really help prepare students for larger gatherings such as STN and JEA/NSPA.

Here are some highlights/cool things from the event I wanted to share in case you are thinking about doing a regional conference some day in your area.

*All the teams had a home base in one big hall. It was great. It was nice to be around the energy of the other schools and students as editing took place.

*Variety in the contests allowed kids to find something they actually wanted to participate in. Everything from “Edit the Scene” and “5-Second Film” to “Spot Feature” and “Sports Roundtable,” plus many more.

*The opening ceremony was fast, fun, and did not feature a parade of boring speeches. Best thing—it left everyone time to leave and get a good dinner before breakouts.

*A smart schedule….breakouts on one night, followed by a full day of just contests.

*Students could enter two on-sites that each took half a day, or they could sign up for a full-day contest. Pick your poison.

*Allowing teachers to remain with their students during contests gives us a chance to teach and advise. We could not touch equipment—that makes sense—but it totally deflates all the tension over “cheating” because a kid was talking to an adviser during an event. So what? The kid had to do all the work, under the pressure of a real deadline.

* The awards ceremony was over in an hour.

*It was affordable. Only 50 bucks to register, and that included a tee-shirt.

Biggest gripe: The hotel needs to empty the trash more frequently. There are a lot of wrappers and boxes when 350 teens and teachers populate a room and snack the day away.

See you next year.