Annual student short films to be shown Wednesday

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Photo Credit: Lilia Wood

Zach Mulcahy (’16) was dressed as Buddy the Elf when he interviewed physics teacher, Ms. Elana Resnick, for his winter slideshow presentation.

by Lilia Wood, Editor-in-Chief

The annual winter slideshow assembly will be during the half day on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

The Media Arts classes have been preparing various two-minute video clips for the last two weeks that will be shown to the student body during the two hour long presentation.

“We just got into this right after Thanksgiving otherwise it would be too many people out of class and in the hallways,” Mrs. Deborah Cella, Media Arts teacher and winter slideshow adviser, said. “We have good ones that are verging from being done.”

Media Arts is an elective course that is only offered to seniors, so the underclassmen do not know what to expect each year.

“As a freshman, I thought it was really cool and I was excited to make one when I was a senior,” Zoe Bender (’16) said.

Most seniors had never learned how to shoot and edit a video or create a storyboard, so there is a learning curve involved. The seniors found it difficult in the beginning because they could not decide what they wanted to make their film about.

“It’s a lot of fun to film around the school,” Zach Mulcahy, Media Arts student, said. “I get to dress up like an elf, so what is not awesome about dressing up as an elf?”

The Media Arts students often get confused glances while they are filming throughout the school in holiday costumes.

My favorite was during my sophomore year when David Ott’s group did a Gangnam style one.”

— Zach Mulcahy

“The best reaction when people see in my elf costume is when we were walking out of Mr. Arlotta’s office and we go in the hallway and Mr. Pasciuto was in the hallway. He just looked over and was like ‘I was not expecting this,’” Mulcahy said.

There are many different directions that students take when producing the films. The videos range from slideshows of still pictures with students and staff wearing festive holiday spirit to videos with comprehensive storylines.

“My favorite was during my sophomore year when David Ott’s group did a Gangnam style one,” Mulcahy said. “I thought it was really funny.”

One former slideshow that sticks out to Cella was when a student lip-synced to a musical as he walked through the school. The students ended up putting it on YouTube. Another one was filmed two years ago when students created clay figures to be the characters in their production.

“I think they are the same each, but at the same time they get a little better each year,” Cella explained. “That is partially because people are growing up with more and more technology and in it all of the time.”

The winter slideshow tradition started in the 1980s by former art teacher, Alan Sponzilli.

“He had kids assigned to go around the halls and get pictures of the kids to be played to background music, mostly Barbara Streisand’s ‘Memories,’” Norma Klau, retired Glen Rock art teacher, said. “He would vary it and put in some faculty.”

At the time, the slideshows were shown with a carousel projector. They had a boom box with a holiday music cassette tape that they clicked the slides to, so it would correlate with the music.

“The photo kids used to get passes to do it. Some classroom teachers objected, but most didn’t,” Klau said.

“They had the whole carousel and it was exciting back then because it was all they had and they didn’t know any different,” Cella said. “If you think about that, it has come a real long way.”

Cella has been in charge of the winter slideshows since 2006.

The main purpose of the assembly is for entertainment. Other than slideshows produced by the seniors, students can also perform. This year, the new dance club that a senior, Jordan McMahon, started will be performing.

“I’m most excited about us having the chance to perform again,” McMahon said. “We haven’t really been seen since the pep rally back in October and having another very large platform to perform at is very exciting for us.”

The club was asked to perform and they decided recently that they wanted to, so it required them to have more intense rehearsal to perfect their number.

“We will be performing a piece choreographed by myself to ‘This is How We Roll’ by Fifth Harmony. Although it is not a Christmas song, it is upbeat and we hope that the crowd will be into it,” McMahon said. “The vibe of the winter slideshow always seems to be energetic, so we hope that we can just contribute even more energy to it.”

Students will also be singing solos and duets. An email was sent out to the faculty asking if they wanted to perform.

“It is a nice time to bring all the arts together and see some fun things and just relax and enjoy each other before we break for the holidays,” Cella explained.

The school typically does not have school wide assembly because the auditorium does not accommodate the whole student body. Some of the freshmen usually stand or sit on the side aisles.

Despite the large amount of students, the auditorium remains fairly quiet and not many students leave to go to the bathroom because they do not want to miss a segment, according to Cella. The order of the slideshow is never announced, so seniors do not know when theirs is going to be featured.

Underclassmen are also featured in some of the seniors’ slideshows, so they are attentive because they do not know when they will be on the screen.

“People like to see themselves on the big screen,” Cella said.

The seniors always get to the auditorium before the underclassmen, so they get the front row seats.

“I find this is where the whole senior class gels as they are moving towards that last half of their senior year and graduation,” Cella said. “It is a nice point where everyone is laughing. I think it is very festive and it is a fun time of year.“