‘I want to be here as much as I possibly can’: Del Campo class hoping to gain more hands-on experience when in-person learning resumes

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In 'Class of 2021,' FOX40 will follow a group of students whose senior year was upended by the coronavirus pandemic, documenting their challenges and accomplishments.

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FAIR OAKS, Calif. (KTXL) — As some classes require more of a hands-on approach than others, one class at Del Campo High School is especially hopeful they’ll be able to use their classroom soon.

“I really just wanted to learn as much about video production before I went off to college, and that’s basically what I’m doing,” Abby Biebl said.

Video broadcast production was the class Biebl was most looking forward to heading into her senior year.

But, her education so far hasn’t been as hands-on as she expected.

“This is our brand-spankin’ new television studio. We’re really excited about this. We were supposed to start in this classroom in August, the beginning of the school year, but then the pandemic hit,” teacher Brian Weitzel explained. “At some point, we hope this year to get the students back in the classroom, get them behind the desk, get them experiencing the studio.”

The high school’s new, state-of-the-art broadcast classroom sits empty.

“Yeah, there’s just so many tools in here I want to learn so badly how to use,” Biebl said.

In true pandemic style, Weitzel has adapted.

“We used to have a daily show. A live, daily show. And now we’ve adapted to weekly,” he said.

The students prepare their stories and tape the entire show from home.

“We pick the anchors and the crew on Monday or Tuesday; the anchors will write the scripts,” Biebl explained. “On Friday, we go into stream yard, and we actually record, and everyone reads out their scripts.”

But, the students aren’t just learning how to put together a newscast. They’re also learning how to create their own stories.

“We have a two-week time span to create a news package. Basically, that’s pre-production, production and post-production. You know, finding out what story you want to cover and then creating it,” Biebl said.

And those projects pose another set of challenges.

“We had to find a video editing software that we could use online, and not just online, but with any device,” Weitzel said. “I’ve got about 40 cameras checked out, various different forms.”

Biebl has been working with one of those cameras on her own all year.

“I feel like even if we were in person, I would’ve learned a lot more. Like, I wish I was able to use this classroom to learn more about the different types of cameras and the different ways of filming,” she said.

Both Biebl and her teacher are hopeful she’ll have that opportunity before her senior year is over.

“We all want to get back in the classroom. We all want to get back to experience this great stuff we have the opportunity with,” Weitzel said.

“This class has only really furthered my drive to want to do more and want to do this in my career,” Biebl explained. “I feel like, as a senior, I want to be here as much as I possibly can, you know? So I hope we come back. I’m just hoping for it a lot.”

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