Every year, students in Mr. Dan McKosky’s Documentary class work on one final project: an original documentary of their own.
The project had to be 12-20 minutes long, contain 3 interviews, and focus on a challenging topic for the students. While it wasn’t a requirement, Mr. McKosky encouraged students to pursue a topic they were passionate about.
The final products the students turned in would then be shown at screenings for the friends and family of those involved. The screenings were Thursday, January 26, and Friday, January 27.
Many of the students involved found that the most difficult part of the assignment was time management. After all, having to shoot and edit your own documentary while juggling other school work and extracurricular activities is no easy feat.
Despite the seemingly insurmountable task ahead of them, all students were able to turn in a completed product in time to get a grade.
“For all my nagging and all my fears that they wouldn’t get it done on time, they did a really amazing job,” Mr. McKosky stated. “This was probably the best year for documentaries yet.”
That is no small praise coming from Mr. McKosky, a veteran teacher of ten years. Along with teaching Documentary, he teaches Video Production 1, Video Production 2A (which handles the morning announcements,) Narrative Film, and Animation and Design.
What surprised Mr. McKosky most was the diversity and maturity of the topics chosen. As he put it on the first night of filming: “Where else can you go on a Thursday night to learn about galaxies and menstruation?”
Mr. McKosky was happy to see that all his students bonded over their mutual suffering throughout the process. Despite having different ideas and experiences, they really came together, which was very rewarding for him.
For senior Nolan Allen, the documentary project gave him an outlet to bring attention to a cause very close to home: Cranberry Township’s Miracle League.
His documentary, The True Dreamcatcher, was a story of how the Miracle League came to Cranberry. He interviewed his younger brother Brendan on playing for the League, discussed the League’s history, and highlighted SV’s Raiderthon, a dance marathon that raises money for the League.
Allen was able to secure an interview with the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, as the team has had close ties in the Cranberry League’s conception.
His documentary was heartfelt and inspiring, and despite all the hard work and sleepless nights, Allen insists that it was all worth it.
“It was 100 percent worth it,” Allen said. “Having people tell me the documentary brought them to tears meant a lot. I was happy to bring attention to the Miracle League.”
To see this year’s documentaries, visit www.vimeo.com/svdocumentary