In the Thunder Mountain High School library, a crowd of parents, high school students and elementary students alike filled the available seating to watch the Juneau iDida digital arts award ceremony on Thursday, a contest continued by Janna Lelchuk in honor of departed arts teacher Janice Neimeyer.
“It is a big celebration because this contest is a big deal for us,” said Lelchuk, a Russian language and digital arts teacher at TMHS. “I just wanted you to know that Jan touched all of our hearts. We still have students in our school who were her students and they still remember her and love her.”
Lelchuk told those gathered that Neimeyer started the digital arts program at TMHS and was part of the Alaska Society for Technology and Education, which organizes the iDida video and photography contest in Anchorage.
“Jan was the one who was promoting this contest in our schools,” Lelchuk said. “She was always pushing students ‘Let’s do it, let’s do it!’ …After she was gone… I know she wanted to do more and I also wanted to do it for Juneau, but she never did. So we continue doing it for her.”
Roger Healy, Neimeyer’s husband, told the audience he was sure that Neimeyer would be smiling down on them since she loved contests. Rhonda Miller, the TMHS librarian and one of the event organizers, met Healy’s comment with “She sure did!” making the audience laugh. Everyone settled in then to watch a slideshow tribute of Neimeyer’s photography of Southeast Alaska and work by her art students.
When the awards were given out, Lelchuk said this was the first year that elementary school student participated. The first stop-motion video shown was by fifth-grader Shea Post, who used LEGOS as props to re-tell the Jurassic World movie with the soundtrack’s main theme playing in the background. The other video winner, fifth-grader grader Will Woolford, created a video that showed his dirty room appearing to clean itself in a Mary Poppins-esque fashion.
When accepting his award, Woolford said he took over 400 different clips to make the three-minute film. He later told the Empire the whole process took him several hours to complete using the Stop Motion Studio app.
“I looked up some good stop-motion animating apps for the iPad and that just looked like a good one so I put it on my desk and aimed it at my bed and took a picture every time I moved the sheet,” Woolford said.
Although he has made films in the past, Woolford said this was the first competition he entered. He learned about it through a flyer at Harborview Elementary School.
The rest of the awards went as follows:
Other video awards went to:
1. Brady Allio and Jordan Cooper, TMHS
2. Masen Smith, TMHS
3. William Weinlaeder, TMHS
Grand winner of the competition overall: TMHS senior Amanda Gassan for “Entwinted,” a photo of two dancers entwined with one another in Juneau area ruins. Gassan will represent Juneau at the Alaska Society for Technology and Education contest in Anchorage.
Life in Alaska photos
1. Marcellin Niset, junior, Juneau-Douglas High School
2. Sonny Mauricio, junior, TMHS
3. Alice Johnson, senior, TMHS
Honorable mention: Peyton Harp, TMHS, and Tianna Gordon, JDHS
Tell a Story photos
1. Spencer Stratton, junior, TMHS
2. Brittny Petersen, sophomore, TMHS
3. Dylan Allio, senior, TMHS
Honorable mention: freshman Daniel Peters, JDHS, and sophomore Charlene Zanoria, TMHS
1. Amanda Gassan, senior, TMHS
2. Audrey Schick, TMHS
3. Jordan Cooper, senior TMHS
Honorable mention: Nathan Holms and Alex Ocana, TMHS, and Kris Iona JDHS
Honorable mention: Kyrel Paine and Lianno Vejar, TMHS, and Luke Hutchinson, TMHS
Elementary and Middle school photogrpahy
Logan Miller, seventh grade, Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School – Honorable mention photo
Leo Reyes-Boyer, fifth grade, Harborview Elementary School – Honorable mention photo
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