Recent SBHS graduates Liam Maxwell and Yuki Soga receive the national Hometown Media Award for a promotional video they produced during their internship at RETN Channel 16.

SBHS Grads Win National Media Award

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Thursday August 28, 2014

Two former students from South Burlington High School received top honors in a national media competition for work they produced with local educational television station RETN Channel 16.

Yuki Soga and Liam Maxwell, who interned at RETN in the summer of 2013 and graduated from South Burlington High School in June, won a first place prize in the 2014 Hometown Media Awards, presented by the Alliance for Community Media.

Soga and Maxwell, who won for their entry in the student-produced promotional-media category, were among several local winners. Their video, which promoted community media in schools, featured SBHS teacher Nissa Kauppila 

Soga said he was thrilled to win the award using RETN’s state-of-the-art equipment.

“The thing I learned, that I found the most interesting about making the promotional video, was definitely the professionalism of it,” Soga said. “With so much equipment and an actual crew, shooting the segment felt a hundred times more legitimate than anything I had made with my friends. Even though it was a small project, it was a different feel than what I was used to. I enjoyed it greatly.”
Soga is headed to New York University this fall.

Maxwell said that the work he did at RETN has helped him grow as a filmmaker.
“Winning the national award was honestly a surprise to me, but if you work hard on a video long enough, it will come out great and possibly win something like this,” Maxwell said. “Winning the award shows my growth compared to the first day as an intern.”

Maxwell is attending Burlington College to pursue film studies.

For the fourth time in six years, RETN and its community producers scored big at the Hometown Media Awards. This year, the station received top billing in the Overall Excellence in Educational Access category covering stations with budgets of more than $650,000.

“The national Hometown Media Awards are the Emmy Awards for access television stations like us,” said RETN’s community and media relations manager, Doug Dunbebin. “Winning the overall excellence award plus three first-place awards for work produced by local students and filmmakers puts RETN and Vermont in the same league as educational access at much larger universities and cities across the country.”

Other local winners included students from Essex High School’s EHSPN, a sports and lifestyle show. Essex classmates Adam Potasiewicz and Kayhl Cooper and teacher Tom Preska took home the first-place prize for sports coverage.

Hannah Dennison, Lukas Huffman and Daniel Cojanu also won an award in the independent producer category for Dear Pina, their tribute to world-renowned modern dance choreographer Pina Bausch.

“It’s rewarding to see our partner organizations and community producers being recognized nationally for the work they are doing,” said Scott Campitelli, RETN’s executive director. “We congratulate all of the winners and remain committed to providing access to the resources our community needs to produce and share high-quality content”

Campitelli, accepted RETN’s award and the other three on behalf of the station’s community producers at a ceremony in Philadelphia on Aug. 7, 2014.

The winning videos will air on RETN Channel 16 on Burlington Telecom and Comcast cable systems in the Champlain Valley. They can also be viewed online at

RETN (Regional Educational Television Network) is the Champlain Valley’s education station providing training, equipment and access to its cable channels so residents may share their stories with the community.

SOURCE: Doug Dunbebin, RETN