FHTMS Students Document Naturalization Ceremony

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Thursday February 23, 2012

Recently, eleven students from South Burlington’s Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School worked with RETN Channel 16 staff to record a Naturalization Ceremony. The event took place at the middle school, and the entire eighth grade class took part in the assembly witnessing the Honorable William K. Sessions, III administer the Oath of Allegiance to the 38 new Americans representing 19 countries.

Members of the production crew are part of the South Burlington Network News team, a school program run by Jay Hoffman, technology teacher at Tuttle Middle School and president of RETN’s Board of Directors.  Hoffman saw the ceremony as a great opportunity for his students to participate in documenting a legal proceeding that many citizens never witness.

“I had so much fun doing this,” said Nirali Desai, a member of Hoffman’s student crew whose family recently became U.S. citizens at a similar event. “You can really see that we actually did something that the people who took part in this event will appreciate. It’s a great feeling.”

“We were excited to be able to provide the technical expertise and resources Hoffman’s students needed to record this event,” said Scott Campitelli, RETN’s executive director.  “I can’t think of a more appropriate way to fulfill our mission of making media accessible for civic engagement than to put cameras in the hands of young students to document the moment when these new Americans become United States citizens.”

“It was very cool to be part of this, because it’s not something that you see everyday,” said Maggie Miller, another member of the SBNN crew. “You can tell it’s something very special.”

Video recording an event like this involves a great deal of preparation and teamwork. RETN staff held a pre-production meeting with students the week before the ceremony, and on the day of the event the students operated three cameras and a camera switcher while communicating via headsets.

The ceremony is available for online viewing and purchase at www.retn.org.

RETN is Burlington’s local education station providing access to media and technology to advance education and civic engagement.