Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 38
Keeping kids creativeEnjoy the student-produced RHS Farmers Market, a fundraiser for the school's film and journalism programs
BY JOE PAYNE
In a school system plagued by standardized testing and diminishing budgets, any program that prepares kids for real-world challenges and careers should be put on a pedestal. But often those same programs, even if they get support from the county, could still use support from the community.
The Righetti High School Farmers Market is a fundraiser event for the school’s film, broadcasting, and magazine production programs run by Robert Garcia at the school. He’s hoping to raise funds for scholarships for graduating film and broadcasting students, as well as defray the costs of printing the student-produced Legend magazine.
“We need money to publish the magazine,” he said. “It’s a pretty big endeavor. The magazine is full color with glossy paper, and it costs $1,700 for 1,000 copies.”
Garcia took over production of the Legend two years ago when Righetti’s journalism program was just a club, accomplished all in students’ free time. He decided to turn the school newspaper into a magazine.
“I noticed when it was a newspaper, kids would come by and drop them off, and most copies would just stay there,” he said. “I also found a lot of them in the garbage or strewn all over the campus; so, I wanted to do something that was appealing for students.”
The new Legend was a big hit with students, teachers, and administrators. Now, the journalism club has become the magazine design and publication class taught by Garcia during Righetti’s sixth period. Though the magazine is much more expensive to produce, the class has received support from the county as well as from local nonprofit Altrusa International.
“Altrusa is a service organization that tries to help with literacy for young people,” Garcia said. “I went and met them and their board, and they took us on like a sponsor.”
But even with the help of Altrusa, the magazine needs more funds to get published. Students compensate by selling ads in the magazine and raising funds in other ways, which was the genesis of the RHS Farmers Market.
“It’s really going to be more like a fair,” Garcia said. “We have about 29 vendors. There will be jewelers, cosmetic people, the film program will be selling produce and tie-dye shirts. There will be coffee, a masseuse doing chair massage, and Altrusa will be there handing out free books.”
In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I was Garcia’s student all four years of my high school education at Righetti. I will also be performing live music at the event with another former student and friend, Champion McConnell. There will also be a performance by a local hip hop dance troupe and other attractions on the market’s stage.
Anyone who’s been a part of any of Garcia’s classes can tell you how valuable the experience is. The RHS Farmers Market, like the Legend, the daily broadcast show, and the yearly RHS Film Festival, is completely student produced.
“Everything I do, I make sure the students work it; I’m more like the coordinator,” Garcia said. “I have had offers from parents and adults to help with this, and I usually turn them down. I want the students to do it because it’s a good experience because they deal with real-life situations.”
Garcia’s film and broadcasting programs have received much support from the county long before he ever started with the magazine. His classes are part of ROP (Regional Occupational Program), which prepares students for the workforce with real experience.
“ROP is very supportive,” he said. “They try to make sure that we have the latest equipment so that when the kids leave they have that experience. Quite a few of my students go on to the business or higher learning, so ROP is a big help.”
While ROP helps by paying for cameras, computer equipment, and more, Garcia and his students work during the year to raise funds for the scholarship program. Any senior student of Garcia’s continuing on in higher learning in film or broadcasting receives a scholarship. Though they don’t equal winning the lottery, the scholarships are a much-needed boost in school or for students aiming to procure their own equipment.
Many of his students end up in filmmaking and broadcasting thanks to the skills and experience they gain in Garcia’s class.
“I have former students working up and down the coast working in television,” he said. “I have some who have won Emmys, and some who have worked on films like The A Team, Master and Commander, and Sin City.”
The RHS Farmers Market is an opportunity to support a local school program that prepares kids for the real world. You’ll also get a chance to see Garcia’s students in action as they collaborate and cooperate to produce a fun community event.
Arts Editor Joe Payne is a Warrior. Contact him at email@example.com.