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posted: Thu, Jan 19th, 2017

Innovation ignites at MOTV

Mr. Chris Praml, MOTV teacher, was recognized by Corp America Magazine's Large Cap Awards, in which he was named the Educational Innovator of the Year. The award, which annually recognizes only one educator from around the United States, selected Mr. Praml for the honor due to his dedication to helping his students through the innovative MOTV program.

Many of Mr. Praml's students were excited that he would be receiving the award. Peter Liberopoulos said, "Mr. Praml is a great teacher. He knows how to do everything on the computer and is very approachable when you have questions."

John Cowap echoed similar sentiments. "He's one of the best teachers in the school," Cowap said. "He's very hardworking. He has high expectations for students but gets less involved himself the higher up in the program you go. He doesn't micromanage and lets you figure things out on your own."

The MOTV program has certainly continued innovating, never settling for the status quo. Some improvements they have experienced over the past several years are the new tech bus, steady camera, LED lighting, and upgrades to the recording equipment.

Spencer Labaska, a student in the TV program, said he loves having access to all of the latest equipment and technology. "The administration and board appreciates this program," he said. "You can tell because of their willingness to fund our equipment."

Labaska also commented on the new lighting grid, which seems to be many students' favorite new feature. "The lights aren't hot anymore, they're easier to turn on and off with a single switch, and they look better on camera."

MOTV had a visit from Fairleigh Dickinson University professor, David Landau, who visited the studio to do a lighting presentation and lesson with the new LED lights. Landau also works in the lighting industry, shooting indie features and corporate videos, designing lights for theatre, and working as one of the gaffers on the TV series Project Runway.

Jack Thomas, a senior member of MOTV, said the technical aspects of production change from year to year, and MOTV is always improving. As a member of MOTV, Thomas won the writing category at the Ramapo Film Festival. He loves the camaraderie and experiences that MOTV have provided him, and he voluntarily spent lunch and study hall blocks, in addition to class time, in the TV studio working on projects. "Being part of this program has been the best experience I've had in high school," he said.

Cowap said the MOTV program helps people interact and form friendships, especially ones who might normally tend to keep to themselves. He explained how MOTV helped him get over camera shyness and work as part of a team.

Several of the MOTV students expressed how taking the MOTV classes have taught them qualities and skills that will help them with future careers and jobs. Kara Saucyn, who wants to go into the writing and editing fields, said, "This class is like you're in a job environment all the time. Mr. Praml cares a lot about his students and how they're going to do. He wants you to succeed."

Sarah Lee agreed and said some of the job-related skills she has learned as part of the MOTV program are teamwork, responsibility, and time management. "I learned more about time management in this class than in any other," she said. "This is my job, and I have deadlines to meet. The live show promotes team building. Not one person can do everything. We have a common interest, and we need each other to produce the show."

The MOTV program has been quite busy this year. Mr. Praml described some of the new features: "MOTV launched its wireless camera system to create a production of the MOHS Holiday Concert last month. The system was also utilized to produce the first live broadcast of the boys basketball home opener against Morris Knolls on 12/16/16. MOTV then used the system to cover MOHS alumni and Olympian Keturah Orji's presentation to the current student-athletes at MOHS."

In addition to new programs, new trips were also conducted by MOTV this year. William Shea, MOHS junior, took advantage of a field trip that MOTV offered to Centenary College earlier this winter to the Vibe Social Media Program. "We met with their social media department, which is a huge program there and one of the best in the country. They had a huge smartboard there with trending stories from Instagram and other social media sites, and we learned how to use social media to promote business."

Congratulations to the MOTV program and Mr. Praml on all of their accomplishments!

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Mount Olive High School
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