New Albany High School sophomore, Michelle Luo, is the first place winner in a video contest sponsored by the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation (MCEF). Luo, a journalism student, discovered the contest online and approached her journalism teacher, LeeAnn Thompson, and Construction Instructor, Rick Robbins, about the possibility of developing a video for the MCEF Contest.
The purpose of the contest was to develop videos that highlighted the many ways that construction and manufacturing education programs are helping students achieve their goals, as well as increase the knowledge of how these programs are building the future of Mississippi’s workforce.
Luo explained that the video promoted the Career and Technical Center and brought more awareness to the construction program It also highlighted opportunities in the field of construction. She is pleased that the video brought recognition to not only her as an individual, but also to the school. Luo explained that she wrote interview questions, did research, filmed, and edited the video with support from Robbins. She was assisted by fellow journalism student Madison Graham, who helped with more of the creativity side of building the video.
Although quality and content was a consideration for the judges, the votes and shares she received were what helped Luo to win. Voting began on November 11 and continued for three days. Then, additional votes were received through “shares” on the MCEF Facebook page. Thompson was very instrumental in promoting her video once it was completed and the voting process started.
Thompson emailed teachers and asked them to both vote and spread the word about the contest. She also worked with administrators and school staff to promote voting on the video through the school district’s Twitter announcements. “Everyone got to know Michelle through the homecoming video project #SaveChandler that the journalism class did in September,” Thompson said. “That project helped to build her a fan base.” Luo was instrumental in writing the script, filming, editing, and producing that video for homecoming.
Thompson said that one of the things that made her the most proud during this project was how the students came together during the voting to promote Michelle and her video. John Wright Welborn, a journalism student with Michelle, said that “it was truly a team effort. Many of the students at NAHS contacted friends and family from other areas of the state, as well as former NAHS graduates to get votes for her.”
Robbins, who is excited that his program was promoted throughout the project and the voting, says he is impressed with Luo as a student and respects her “creativity, initiative, organization, determination, and intelligence.”