Whitney High TV program earns award

By: Paris Narayan, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Every Friday morning, it’s showtime for Whitney High broadcasting students. That’s when their weeklong work of interviewing, filming and editing comes together for “Unleashed,” a weekly program spotlighting Rocklin people and Whitney High students. Recently, “Unleashed” earned the Student Television Network Excellence award in the weekly broadcast show category for students’ on- and off-camera action. Whitney High School teacher Ben Barnholdt, teaches the two advanced broadcast journalism classes – WCTV 19 and Wildcat Productions. “They are two totally separate classes,” Barnholdt said. “In WCTV 19, they tell the stories of other people in our school and in our community. In Wildcat Productions, they create the story with video, music, and effects.” In WCTV 19, there are two news directors who are in charge of the 28 other students in the class, and similarly for Wildcat Productions there are two production managers for the 28 other students. Jennifer Hayes and Sierra Lemay are the two news directors and Megan Sonneborn and Nathan Duenas are the two production managers. “‘Unleashed’ is a weekly show. The other class chooses topics and we film the PSA’s (Public Service Announcements) and commercials. It’s about what’s going on in Rocklin, Placer County, and the community,” Duenas said. “It’s really about what teens would enjoy watching,” Sonneborn said. The challenges of two different classes working together are actually not too difficult for Barnholdt, he said. “It is easy for the classes to work together because they want to make the best show possible for both the students at Whitney and our community. They take a lot of pride in their broadcast projects and they even challenge each other to get the best story, interview, or make the most creative commercial,” Barnholdt said. Both classes are a mix of broadcast two and three students and all students are sophomores, juniors, or seniors. The classes try to do various events so that they gain more experience and knowledge of the subject. “‘Unleashed’ is our main focus, but sometimes we do little things for experience – we’ll be interviewing some of the King’s players,” Hayes said. “We’re especially focusing on the voice of he Kings – Scott Moak,” Lemay said. Another student, Kelsea Williams, in the WCTV 19 class, explained what it was like to learn that they had won the national broadcasting award. “It was really great to hear we had won because our program is doing well now and it’s great to have the whole nation see us,” Williams said. “I am so impressed that the students in the two programs continue to find compelling stories, and interesting ways to tell them. I am one of the luckiest teachers in the world to have this group of students who not only work really hard, but they also take pride in our two programs. They want to create a great show week in and week out. And we wouldn’t have a program without their commitment and dedication,” Barnholdt said. To view videos of “Unleashed,” go to