This summer, a group of Bigfork High School students volunteered and were selected to aid their teacher, Mike Roberts, in creating a flash drive memento containing photos and videos for each of the 2015 Crown participants. Crown is grateful for all of the hard work put in by Mike Roberts, Mike Roessman, and the students in Bigfork High School’s media department. Crown’s photographer, Mike Roessman, wrote a heartfelt letter thanking them for their hard work, shared below.
A year ago an ambitious plan was hatched to provide the students participating in the Crown of the Continent workshops with a flash drive memento at the time of their departure. The flash drive was going to contain campus life video, performance based video, as well as still images from their performances and the 7 days of campus life. Without question, this objective could not be achieved without a host of skilled volunteers, technology, and time commitment. In exploring the options in how to assemble and execute the plan, I conferred with Mike Roberts who in my estimation brought his technology skills to the table as well as his acumen as a photographer. Over the course of many months a game plan came together, but lingering in the back of my mind was the fact that the “staff” was going to be a collection of high school students whom I had yet to meet.
Mike Roberts went above and beyond not only to hand pick a select group of students for their technology skills, he also selected students that wouldn’t be affected by missing the first week of school. In the back of my mind I was still very apprehensive mainly because we had to deliver the flash drives by weeks end, inherently a daunting task. One of the big issues was the sheer volume of images that were going to be generated. I really wasn’t sure how the students were going to manage.
These concerns were erased the first day. Riley, Reuben, and Adam were enthusiastic and they attacked the appointed tasks with tremendous energy. On the evening of the first day Riley went home and created a spreadsheet making it easier to track the students that we hadn’t photographed for the facial recognition software baseline images. No one asked her to do this, but she did it on her own, contributing in a very professional and adult manner. Reuben, constantly dug deep into his Photoshop and editing skill set, and provided us with needed page breaks, as well as other custom aspects for the slide show. Adam with his strong video and editing skills also made short work of all the tasks that were sent his way. All three showed up every morning and went right to work. They immersed themselves in the workflow to such a high degree that they knew what the next step was. This continually happened whether they had been given direction or not. As importantly, they managed the process with a consistent team approach and never let ego or attitude derail the flow. I can’t say enough about the maturity and professionalism that these students provided. It gives me hope that the educational process is still working, and the youth of Bigfork High School are growing and developing in a most desirable way. It is without question that this project wouldn’t have been pulled off if these students hadn’t shown up and taken care of business.
I would also like to commend Mike Roberts for his tireless and consistent commitment to this project. He was always able to come up with solutions to problems, and inevitably his hand-print is firmly in place on the make-up of our work flow as well as the flash drive development. It’s also important to point out a very big part of who Mr. Roberts is. He is a committed and dedicated teacher who shares not only his knowledge but also his equipment, his very expensive equipment. Having served on the school board myself for 9 years I recognize the difficulty in staying fresh and enthused as a teacher. I watched Mike Roberts never hesitate to take time for a teaching moment. When we had problems, when we needed input, or Mike recognized something worthy of clarification, he stopped the proceedings, gathered the students, and gave them a clear and direct outline of what the next step was going to be. This is in a nutshell is what teaching is all about.
Finally a big thank you also goes out to a past graduate of Bigfork High School, David Meyer. His unwavering commitment (except after the Griz game) and enthusiasm helped bring the group of editors into its complete state. I also believe that he brings to the table a very profound eye as photographer. His help in capturing images in the classrooms and on campus went a long way to help gather enough visual data for the flash drive project.
Lastly I would like to thank Superintendent Jensen, principle Mr. Robbins, and the School Board for allowing these students to participate in this process despite the fact that it was the first week of school. I firmly believe in education first, and daily student participation in class without compromise. But, I also believe that we are raising young adults to participate not only in community, but in real world. I consider the week spent with the Crown to have been very enlightening, educational, and a well-rounded experience for the students. They were faced with pressures and stresses that come with an evolving project, especially a project in its infancy. They needed to use problem solving skills, teamwork, long hours in front of the computer, not to mention dealing with one of the most epic of fly hatches of this century (we’re talking horror movie volumes). Through it all they persevered and excelled without exception. My personal thanks to the students, Mike Roberts, and Big Dave Meyer, we couldn’t have done it without you!