Jo Nell Mellody
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Royse City students intern at Virgin Islands TV Station

Ten students and two teachers from Royse City High School travelled over 2,000 miles to the island of St. Croix in late April with the purpose of producing videos about the people, places, and history of the island.

“We had a chance to intern at the local ABC affiliate television station and they allowed us to produce several news stories which they aired on their local evening news,” said Steve Vaughn, RCHS Video Production teacher.  The group is part of an advanced video production class at RCHS called RCTV. According to Vaughn, the purpose of the trip is for students to use their video skills in a beautiful setting and learn about a different place and culture.

Among the stories they produced for the TV station was one over the annual Ironman Triathlon held in St. Croix for the past 27 years. “We interviewed the director of the race and numerous athletes from around the world,” said Kendal Hall, senior.  The students and teachers were also featured in a story on the evening news.  “They interviewed several students and myself about why we were in St. Croix and what we planned to produce,” Vaughn said.

“All the students were assigned stories to complete during the week,” said Vaughn.  One group did a story over a church that is over 250 years old.  “We interviewed the priest who gave us details on the rich history of the church,” said junior Laurissa Huffstetler.  Another group interviewed a park ranger to learn the history of the Salt River Bay, Fort Christensted, and Buck Island.  “It was interesting to learn that Christopher Columbus landed in Salt River Bay,” said senior Chase Wright.

Later in the week, the high school group got a chance to experience the “Jump Up” carnival in downtown Christensted.  This special celebration is the kick-off event for the Ironman competition and featured vendors, artists, and musical groups.

“Several of us decided to go and do a story about this event.  We interviewed vendors, elementary students who play the steel drums, and even a Senator,” junior Kolton Rogers added.

The students also produced a commercial for one of the condo owners where they stayed.  “The owner gave us $400 off our rent for producing the commercial,” said Rogers.  In the commercial, they filmed interior shots of the condo as well as exterior shots of all the amenities at the condo complex.  “We even used our aerial drone to get some great shots of the beach and ocean,” added Rogers.

One group of students decided to use the island backdrop to produce a music video.  They filmed for over six hours during the week to finish it.  “We wanted to do an awesome video with the palm trees and beach as a background,” Senior Stephanie Vaughn commented.  Vaughn is one of the lead actresses in the music video.

Besides all the work, the students also got to have some fun.

“We went to Buck Island which is a marine preserve.  We got to see and videotape all types of fish, a stingray, and even a reef shark while there,” said junior Alex Schar.

While out filming one day, the students came across a video crew from the Discovery Channel filming an episode of “Airplane Repo.”  “We met the director and he gave me his contact information.  We are hopeful we can come back and do an intern with him in the future,” said Vaughn.

Getting to the island was the biggest challenge for the group.  “We had to raise over $10,000 for the trip,” said Kendal Rogers.  The students raised the funds by videotaping weddings on the weekends and working at the football stadium, among several fundraisers.

“It takes a lot of planning and work to raise the funds for this kind of trip,” said Vaughn who added that he brought a group to St. Croix three years ago for the same type of experience.  “It’s not something we can do every year but it is a worthwhile trip.”

RCTV is a national award-winning program that has won numerous Student Television Network contest trophies.  The students in the program produce a bi-weekly new show.  They also produce the content for the video scoreboard at RCISD Stadium.

To view any of the videos from the trip or other RCTV work, please visit




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