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Dublin High School Video Production Team Partners with Amador Valley to Capture “Every 15 Minutes”

April 28, 2017

PLEASANTON, CA–It was an overcast Thursday morning in Pleasanton. But, frankly, it could have been any day of the week. The serenity of a Tri-Valley moment was suddenly shattered by the gruesome sound of a car collision and the associated horror of vehicular casualties. Fortunately, this articulation was not real and was created by a cooperative between the Pleasanton Police Department, Amador Valley High School and a small team of talented students from Dublin High School. In a scene that looked all too authentic, the junior and senior classes of AVHS witnessed Day One of the program “Every 15 Minutes” just outside the grounds of their school site.

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The intent of “Every 15 Minutes” is to graphically warn young people of the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol/drugs or while being distracted. While this program had its genesis in Canada, for several years, the program is sponsored by high schools throughout the entire United States. Dublin High School conducted their every-four year exercise in the spring of 2016. The events of the first day were chronicled by students in the Video Production program led by teacher Michael D’Ambrosio. This exercise is critical as the footage taken from the crash scene and subsequent events are melded into a video which is shown on the second day during a mock funeral at the school.

In so many ways, it has been remarkable how far this program has developed into one of the most in-demand electives for students. It has spawned other projects – including the popular DHS Film Festival which will occur in May. But a telling testament to the success/ability of your efforts is if another school reaches out to take advantage of your skills. This occurred as Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton inquired about the ability of the DHS program to successfully execute this opportunity.

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The only answer could be “yes.” But, the commitment could only succeed with a complete “buy in” from a small army of students that would be willing to pour their hearts and souls into a project that was not even occurring at their own school. It was a true “Strength in Numbers” moment. But, there was never a doubt.

In classic style, Mr. D’Ambrosio collected his group of talent and also determined that a student would lead the charge. That individual arrived in the form of senior, Madeline Nobida. Maddy is a veteran of this group and had experience in previous endeavors. Still, the lead role would be a key and would provide the glue to a successful project. We reached out to Ms. Nobida to solicit her thoughts on the process.

OneDublin.org: While you were part of a team, Mr. D’Ambrosio was clearly looking to you to provide leadership. Please describe that experience/responsibility.

DSC_2659Madeline Nobida: “I was really honored that Mr. D’Ambrosio looked to me to help lead our team of students. I’m very passionate about our work and the important messages we’re sending out, so having the opportunity to lead our students means the world to me. Having good communication, leading by example and having past experiences with these types of projects were the key to leading our team and project to success. It’s also really important to be able to lead those who are going to be taking the seniors’ spots when we’re gone during these upcoming years.”

OneDublin.org: We were on site to chronicle Day One at Amador Valley. How did things flow on Day two? Please share an anecdote that you found interesting.

Nobida: “As a film crew, day two was a really rewarding day. We’ve spent months and almost a full 20 hours prior working so hard on the film, so being able to see everyone’s initial reactions and emotions to the presentation really hit us hard. Though it was a very emotional assembly, we were so happy to contribute to the impact that was left on the students. Also, we extend a huge thank you to the Amador Valley students who put together their Every 15 Minutes. We deeply appreciated the amount of trust you put into us for this project!”

OneDublin.org: Please articulate how your involvement in Video Production has positively impacted your experience at DHS.

Nobida: “Being introduced to the Video Production program halfway through my high school career completely changed my outlook for not only the next two years, but on the rest of my life. I’ve been an artist for most of my life prior to being in video production, but I’ve never used my talents for a greater good. Having Mr. D’Ambrosio as a teacher and mentor has really brought out the best artist, student, and leader in me and he has taught me how to use my abilities to positively impact others. Since joining the class, I’ve been more involved in my community, not just the high school itself.”

OneDublin.org: What are your personal ambitions – post graduation? How do you plan to keep yourself embedded in the arts?

Nobida: “Post graduation I plan to continue to be an active artist and leader. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to continue my passion for dance in college at UCLA, and I know through my major I’m going to continue my drive to make an impact on people’s lives. Eventually I’d like to become a counselor or teacher because people who currently hold those roles in my life have made me a better person. I know no matter what I end up doing, the arts will always be there to inspire me help me contribute as much help to people as I can.”

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So, now the story can be told. After an exhaustive day at Amador Valley HS, the DHS students returned back to school and plowed themselves into post-production. Keep in mind that anything short of perfection would not yield the intended impact for the second day of the program. While the students toiled well into the A.M. hours, their teacher stayed up even longer. But, as he would later convey, it was simply a labor of love. With the final frames embedded for release, Michael was simply ready for another day and the final execution of what his group had worked on for so many weeks. We asked Mr. D’Ambrosio for some of his reflections.

OneDublin.org: When you consider the beginnings of the video production program at Dublin High School versus 2017, please express what you are most proud of.

DSC_2663Michael D’Ambrosio: “If you would have told me where our program would be where it is right now three years ago I wouldn’t have believed it. The students have done an amazing job helping this program grow and showing an interest in what the program has to offer. Looking back at a previous article that was posted on Onedublin.org in February of 2015, I mentioned that I was looking forward to where our program would be not only in the next couple years, but in five. Well, here we are two years later and we continue to grow. I can’t wait to see where we are in three years.”

OneDublin.org: Articulate how it came to be that Amador Valley High School approached you/DHS to document their “Every 15 Minutes” program.

D’Ambrosio: “Earlier in the school year the officer in charge reached out to me and asked if we would be interested. My students felt honored to even be asked and we jumped at the chance. We met with the amazing students from Amador and the rest is history. They were great to work with, and we admire the fact that every part of E15 at Amador was all planned from start to finish by a committee of students. That is just remarkable!”

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OneDublin.org: While this is a complete team effort, you were relying upon Ms. Nobida to provide leadership for the group. What did she bring to the table?

D’Ambrosio: “Maddie is a hard worker. She takes her craft very seriously. During the filming we had a lot of days on set and she was basically at every one. To think she has only been doing video production type work for less than two years is mind blowing. The sky is the limit for her and I know she will do well at UCLA where she will still get to do some film type work as she focuses on her major which is dance. The program will definitely miss not only her leadership skills, but her work ethic, and determination.”

We do not want to minimize the message that should be conveyed from the entire “Every 15 Minutes” program. The restriction on impaired driving must be eliminated. That said, the DHS Video Production program students effectively placed their stamp on conveying this message throughout the Tri-Valley via their talents. OneDublin.org would like to congratulate Ms. Nobida, Mr. D’Ambrosio and all of the students that participate in the Video Production program. Please view their production:

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