Known for athletic state competitions, the month of April is not only hosting state sporting events, but also state-wide video competitions. The Florida Scholastic Press Association (FSPA), is one of the big events for Key West High School’s (KWHS) Conch 5 Studios, a high school program dedicated to digital art.
On April 21st, the KWHS students will be traveling up to Orlando to compete in their “On-The-Spot” competitions, meaning that they have to complete a video in the span of several hours on the FSPA property. The convention will provide computers as needed to edit, but will not provide the rest of the equipment. That being said, Conch 5 Studios is taking a heavy load with them, ranging from their cameras to audio equipment.
After the competition, the students will have time on April 22nd to get critique back on their videos, and also engage in master classes taught by the top teachers and advisers of the state. Ed Smith, the Conch 5 Studios teacher at KWHS, had taught and judged at FSPA in the past. In his younger years, Smith has also competed in FSPA as a high school student, having some background knowledge on the event to share with his current young-digital-creators.
Hosted by the University of Florida’s (UF) Communications and Media School, FSPA entertains over 300 students from different Florida school media teams. According to the FSPA website, they believe students have the right to learn the responsibilities of journalism, both the legal and ethical sides.
Originally established in 1946, their mission then and now is to train and educate young journalists like our own from Conch 5 Studios. The convention in the fall and spring both have workshops for the student journalists and provide service for publication and critiques.
Just like state competitions for athletics, FSPA separates each school into a district, with seven districts in total. For Conch 5 Studios, they represent KWHS in the FSPA District 6, competing against competitive Miami schools like Christopher Columbus and West Broward.
Last year’s spring competition was virtual due to COVID-19, but that did not stop Conch 5 Studios from making it to the top of the leaderboard. In FSPA’s 2021 Convention short film category, the students created a film prompted off of a picture, titling it “Like an Honest Man and a Soldier.” Directed by Christopher “Andre” Otto, and consisting of Robert Malcom, Landon Stotts, and Tyler Verne, the team achieved second place in FSPA for their film.
With their prior knowledge of the event, the Conch 5 Studios members are excited to compete again this year, hoping to see progress from their last time at FSPA. If you would like to support KWHS’s Conch 5 Studios, check out their Instagram page @conch5studios or their YouTube. If you would like to donate, either contact their Instagram or email email@example.com.