By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Entering his 10th year at Millington Central High School, Marshonn Calvin is not slowing down.
Actually with the local and national competitions the students of Calvin’s class have entered in this school-year, the awards are racking up.
“I’m getting the students prepared and it’s time to captialize on what we’ve been able to accomplish here at the school thusfar,” Calvin said. “It’s making room for more improvements. We want to officially become a TV station. The ultimate goal is to become an office TV station for MCHS and for Millington and the surrounding area.”
The television program classes take advantage of state-of-the-art equipment and the veteran knowledge of Calvin from his days of working on news sets.
Now the students in Calvin’s class are branching out to other video mediums like commercials, short films and the production of a Trojan TV Reunion Show shot like a documentary.
Calvin and his students will once again compete in the NAACP ACT-SO Visual Arts division.
One of Millington’s submissions will be a short film by senior Quametra Wilborn. The black and white footage depicts a teenage girl who has endured old fashion bullying for a period of time.
“She was a typical girl in the typical high school,” Wilbron noted. “In order to find yourself and know yourself, life is difficult. We have problems and faced with adversaries everyday. She never found her self. Her face was her identity and of course they bashed it. She lost herself and was left to where she committed suicide.”
The close-up of running water in a school sink transforming into a mixture of water and blood illustrated the girl’s solution to her problems.
Wilborn closed the film with the quote, “In order to find yourself, you need to get lost in the forest of life.”
Wilborn said he was grateful for the class giving her an opportunity to shine the light on an issue that plagues teenagers generation after generation.
“It’s given me a voice to were I can help someone,” she said. “I’ve always thought these things but never had an opportunity to say it. With this class and doing this video, it’s helped me get the message out there. Instead of hearing me talk about it, they can see it and almost feel the pain of what she went through, what other people our age have gone through.”
The short film gave life to Wilborn’s vision. The senior loaned her actual voice to narrorate the Millington commercial entry in the Regency Homebuilders competition.
Producers on the 30-second ad were Rubin Seymore, Kendrick Carter and Wilborn.
“My role in this project and in Mr. Calvin’s class, I am a manager,” Erius Hardaway said. “I’m a first-year manager here. I come from a background of management because my grandfather was a minister at his church. In this project, I was responsible for getting video to go into this video we were doing.
“We had to get different shots of these Regency homes,” he added. “We had to do some traveling. We had to travel to Cordova. We had to travel to Bartlett and these different houses and places. It took quite a bit of gas.”
The money and time invested paid off with Millington finishing fourth in their first attempt at the top prize. The fourth spot came with a $500 prize.
“It was challenging because we had three different people,” Hardaway noted. “We had three different cameras in the houses. So picking from what is going to be what, and squeezing into a 30-second commercial, you have to find the right music and get the right person talking. Everything had to be professional. I think it turned out well. We got fourth and we got $500.”
Millington could have finished higher if it wasn’t for some confusion online. While more than 600 people clicked “like” on the commercial, the Millington project received about 30 actual votes.
“Although we won fourth, we feel like our project was the best,” Carter said. “They said we we had 600 likes, but we actually got about 30 votes.
“It makes you feel like we’re doing something right and representing Millington well,” he added. “We’re just not bad students and we can produce things of a high quality. It just shows that we are a top-tier school.”
Carter worked along side Seymore, who has been a part of Calvin’s program since his sophomore year.
“I think it was nice because we get to showcase outside of our community, not just here at Millington,” Seymore said. “We could probably even go national with the commercial.
“It made me feel good even though folks didn’t vote for the video, they liked it,” he continued. “It was a little disappointing but it’s nice to know people see our work on a professional level. Not just something like a little kiddy show.”
Seymore said projects like the Regency commercial gives students a chance to bond. Also working on the project were Aquito Coleman, Saxton Randolph and Chris Welch.
Learning from Calvin for nearly three years, Seymore was a go-to guy for peers like Carter, who is still in year one.
“It makes me feel like a mentor,” Seymore said. “Some of the newer kids are like my little brothers. It feels nice to help other people learn things and get into the groove of what we’ll be doing in the future.
Calvin said that’s one of the advantages of the class and competitions.
“Just trying to let the students know, there is more for them to do out here,” he said. “We want to compete against the Germantowns, the Colliervilles, the Houstons and Southwind high schools. We want to compete agains Stan Bell and all those guys that are doing stuff in Memphis City Schools.”
The leader of the television program said while he wants his students to strive for excellences, he wants to build toward a Youtube channel and presence on the Internet.
“It’s not just about the local competition,” he said. “It’s more about lets get more outside of our comfort box and do more. The challenge to me and what I came into this school year was to do more and get more involved with the public, get the kids out here to do commercials for the local businesses.”