At a Walla Walla Public School Board meeting in May, Pioneer Middle School Explorers students Brian Mott and Nate Brewer and teacher Dan Calzaretta spoke about their documentary, "Black Door Art Gallery." It recently won the National Film Festival for Talented Youth audience award.
Student Malcolm Gabbard was also a partner in the production of the video, but couldn't attend the meeting according to a release from the Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review.
Their 7-minute long documentary features proprietor Gerald Matthews and his art gallery situated above Tallman's Drug Store downtown.
NFFTY is the largest youth film festival in the world: www.nffty.org. Nearly 700 films were submitted in all genres this year, but just seven were accepted in the documentary category.
"I am amazed that in the very first year we have entered films into the NFFTY competition, these students had their film selected and received an award," Dan said. He is Pioneer's Explorers and humanities teacher. "These students were by far the youngest in attendance. Most of the participants were in college."
He said the students made documentaries last year for C-SPAN, but because none of them liked this year's topic, they searched for other opportunities and found NFFTY.
"The students put in between 10 to 15 hours of work for every one minute of finished film," Dan said. "They did all the work from start to finish. This says a lot about their dedication to the project and to each other. It also shows that when we provide students with opportunities for relevant, rigorous, and real world projects they will amaze us with what they can do."
The NFFTY was April 28-May 1 in Seattle. Brian is the son of Mimi and Kevin Mott; Malcolm is the son of Jean Tobin and Brian Gabbard; and Nate's parents are Tanya and Bert Brewer.
Two local women received their bachelor's degrees during the 101st commencement ceremony May 7 at Carroll College. Altogether, the college in Helena, Mont., conferred degrees on 265 graduates.
Both 2007 alumna of DeSales High School, Cailin Crowley's degree is in psychology and Elizabeth Zimmerman's is in business administration/managment and marketing. Cailin is the daughter of Colleen and Jim Crowley of College Place. Elizabeth, who earned summa cum laude honors, is the daughter of Don and Sue Zimmerman of Walla Walla.
Three local students have been named to the Whitworth University Laureate Society for spring semester 2011: Brittany Fowler, College Place, Devon Strang, Dayton, and Victoria Reardon, Walla Walla. They qualified for the academic honors society by maintaining a GPA of at least 3.75 during the semester. Whitworth is in Spokane.