This summer I have been working to create a documentary about the AVID program at Walla Walla High School. Ethan Graham, another film and media studies major at Whitman, and I worked together, talking with our supervisor, meeting with AVID employees and teachers, meeting with AVID students, planning our film, filming interviews and editing footage. Although most of the film will take place during the school year, we we’re able to use this summer to get connected with many people who work for AVID and who will be able to help us more along the way. We have shot and edited footage of interviews with the students and staff to introduce our characters and establish a theme for the film.
The best part of interning for AVID was meeting so many passionate people. Every person we talked to, from Wa-Hi’s assistant principal, Mindy Meyer, to Marilyn Ponti in Whitman’s Office of Financial Aid, added a new and interesting point of view of AVID. While everyone had different relationships with the program, everyone had the same passion and dedication to the AVID students. It was very clear how much support the students get from this community and seeing that was incredible.
Interning in Walla Walla changed my perspective on the city. Besides a few Whitman-organized volunteer opportunities, I haven’t spent much time in Walla Walla outside of Whitman’s campus. I’ve realized that it’s easy to stay in the Whitman bubble, but I think getting to see new perspectives of the city away from campus is really important. I’ve met so many inspiring people from the community, and now Walla Walla seems so much bigger than it did before. I look forward to meeting more amazing people this coming school year and continuing to talk with those we met this summer.
One of the biggest challenges with this project was one that I didn’t expect. The computers in the lab would sometimes fail to save work and the video editing application quit unexpectedly multiple times nearly every day we worked on editing footage. This was frustrating and ultimately slowed down the progress of the film. It has also been a lot of work to have only two people doing all the work of making a film. There are so many tasks that go into the final product. Though it has proven to be a big job, weekly calls with our supervisor really helped us work through any concerns and come up with good ideas for how to progress with the project. Debbie, who is the director of marketing and communications for AVID, helped us get connected with so many people and provided a significant amount of important statistics that we will use in our film.
I am satisfied with how this summer internship went. Not only was it great film making experience, it also connected me with so many people. I even ended up applying for a job as a tutor for AVID students at Pioneer Middle School after we met with Mira Gobel who is the principal of Pioneer and helped implement AVID at Wa-Hi. I am so thankful that the SEC was able to make this opportunity possible for me and I am so excited to continue this project after an inspiring summer of work.