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Nashoba Tech Open House spotlights new media program

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WESTFORD — A student film crew captured the action during a recent open house at Nashoba Regional Technical High School. Cohosted by WestfordCat and Nashoba Tech’s TV/media production program, the event included tours of the school’s new film studio and production rooms.

Guests and speakers included members of the Nashoba Tech School Committee, faculty, and other movers and motivators involved in the media/theater arts program, which was launched in September.

The new program offers hands-on experience from lights to cameras to action and beyond. It adds to an array of specialty studies at the school, which targets current employment trends and aims to widen students’ range of future opportunities.

In a recent issue of Nashoba Valley Techline, a school publication, Superintendent Dr. Judith Klimkiewicz said the fields of communications and entertainment are “the fastest-growing industries in the United States.” Citing research, she said these areas offer growth potential, internationally, for the next 25 to 35 years.

TV/media production instructor William May said the program is off to a great start. In one successful project, his students filmed school sporting events and crafted a collage from the footage, complete with voice-overs. The film debuted at a recent sports banquet night, when it was shown on a big screen, credits and all.

”It was really great,” May said.

The roster spotlighted synergies that helped grow the new program and the town and business partnerships at its roots.

Westford Board of Selectmen member James Silva, who serves on the town’s Communications Advisory Committee, traced the history and mission of WestfordCat and the evolution of its partnership with Nashoba Tech.

Zimmerman praised the partnership and said he hoped the fine new facility and other program perks will help spark more volunteer involvement in the community.

The town-managed cable access station is backed by Comcast, Westford cable provider. In an arrangement that Comcast Vice President Steven Hackley described in some detail, the company finances the TV studio, including equipment and operations, via its contract with the town.

Another speaker, Robert Barnshaw, of Avid Technology, completed the picture by sketching the school/business partnership he helped forge with his firm. Avid, based in Tewksbury, is a leading maker of high-tech media equipment, including special effects devices used in Hollywood blockbuster films such as Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator and Shrek 2.

According to Trisch Doremus, of the Nashoba Tech public relations department, Barnshaw’s expert advice has been invaluable from the start.

Tour stops included the new production and broadcast rooms and a spiffy TV studio with real deal ambiance, from red plush chairs to lush green plants.

The media rooms are located in one of two new wings added during a $25 million renovation and expansion project, completed last year. The dedicated space that houses the Media/Theater Arts program also includes a 350-seat auditorium.

Established in 1969, Nashoba Tech serves as a regional school district comprised of Groton, Pepperell, Shirley, Townsend, Chelmsford, Littleton and Westford. In addition to specialties that range from culinary arts to auto repair, the school offers a full range of academic studies.

Nashoba Tech is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which conducted its 10-year accreditation visit this month. Last year, the school met a stated goal when the entire senior class passed the MCAS test, a graduation requirement in every public school in the state.

Enrollment is underway for next year. In addition to regional students, Nashoba Tech accepts non-resident tuition applications and participates in the School Choice program. Guidance Department Director Danya Sclar anticipates about 20 choice openings for next year. For information call (978) 692-4711, ext. 1122.

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