Pflugerville High School students are getting real world experience thanks to the fire department, but they’re not training to be firefighters -- they’re working to be filmmakers.
"Scene one, take two, action,” said one Pflugerville High School student.
From story board, to filming, to editing, the students have been working on a special project.
"I just really like the ability to tell a story with visual elements," said junior Santiago Dent.
The story they're telling now is one of safety.
"It's kind of a topic not a lot of people focus on,” said senior Emily Marshall.
The students created a PSA on fire safety in the kitchen as part of a partnership with the Travis County Emergency Services District 2, also known at the Pflugerville Fire Department.
"We got together and started talking about the whole plan,” said Marshall.
"The students really did put their creative mark on this video. It was amazing for me and everybody here working with them and they put their special touch on it that sometimes we grownups couldn't really do,” said Allison Strupeck, the community outreach coordinator for the department.
Strupeck said they see the most kitchen fires during the holidays.
"In our busy distracted lives with cell phones and tablets, kids and dogs, and the front door ringing, it's really easy to lose your focus on your cooking," said Strupeck. "Most home fires start in the kitchen. Most of those fires are from distracted or unattended cooking, so we knew we wanted to get the word out about staying focused on your cooking.”
So she said they wanted to warn the community of the danger.
"We wanted to make a series of videos, but we thought we didn't want to just do it on our own. We wanted to partner with local high school students, give them an opportunity to learn while they're doing and really save lives in the process,” said Strupeck.
"I'm proud of what we were able to accomplish,” said Marshall. "I thought it turned out a lot better than I thought it was going to be."
But the student's video isn't just shown in class, it plays on the big screen. You can see it before any movie at the Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center theater.
"I'm happy that we're able to bring this up and kind of spread the message through film,” said Marshall.
It’s an opportunity these high schoolers can't believe.
"It’s like crazy, because that's like my dream. I want to be a director when I'm older and so I want my final product to be in the movie theater," said senior Samantha Pennell. "That was a really good opportunity and I'm thankful I got to be a part of this."
"This finished product was actually being shown to the public by the fire department, and being shown in theaters it felt like an honor, really,” said Dent. "It was really a valuable one-of-a-kind opportunity."
But while they're thrilled to get film experience outside of the school building, it's the community out there they're most happy to help.
"Not only does it feel great to have your work shown because that's something that satisfies you personally, but it also feels great to know what an impact you have on the community," said Dent.
"I hope I'm affecting people's lives in a positive way,” said Pennell.
The Pflugerville Fire Department plans to work with other high schools in the future to create more PSA videos. Strupeck said they’re looking at topics like the importance of yielding to emergency vehicles.
You can watch the full PSA here.
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