When Ferris High School students Mark Balabanov, 17, Colin Calvert, 18, and Irina Peregudova, 15, got a class assignment to make an energy preservation video for Avista, they were all in.
Multimedia teacher Joan Conger used Avista’s annual Every Little Bit video contest as a class assignment. The contest asks high school students to make short videos about energy preservation practices and why they are important to the environment.
More than 50 videos were entered from schools all over Avista’s service area. A team from Pullman High School captured the grand prize for their video “Watts & Hertz” – a black-and-white short about a Humphrey Bogart-like energy detective who saves a young woman from spending her limited funds on energy. It’s the third consecutive year a team from Pullman High School has won a technology grant in this contest.
The Ferris trio won the Viewer’s Choice Award for its funky, modern “Be Bolt” video.
On Feb. 28, Avista marketing and communications manager Scott Steele presented the students with a $1,500 technology grant for Ferris High School and an Apple iPod Nano for each student.
“Your video was very well done,” Steele said. “We are always impressed with the videos – so, thank you for taking part in it.”
The $1,500 grant will go toward video equipment.
The students were friends before they started working on the video.
“Irina is getting into film and she is very good at directing,” said Calvert, who wrote about half the script for the video.
The video features Spokane homes and landmarks, apartment buildings and businesses, with a green cartoon lightning bolt hovering above. Messages like “close the fridge,” “do your part” and “saving energy makes life better” stream across the screen accompanied by techno music.
Balabanov said they put a lot of hours into the project knowing they would be up against some really good videos.
They also promoted the video.
“We put out fliers on the South Hill. We told our friends, we put it on Facebook and Twitter,” said Balabanov. “We did everything we could think of.”
The three are interested in film and video but are not sure it will be a career choice for any of them, though Calvert said he has a screenplay ready to go.
“I really appreciate the work of our students,” said Kevin Foster, Ferris principal.