MANATEE -- For the second year in a row, a team of four students from Southeast High School brought home a national championship for their TV production skills.
Daniel Shevlin, Sydney Mitchell, Gabby Murphy and Luizangel Walle -- 18-year-olds who graduated from Southeast last month -- participated recently in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kentucky. For the second year in a row, the team won the broadcast news program category.
The team, which has been together for three years and competed together almost a dozen times, was confident it had done well in the most recent competition. The moment between calling out the second-place team and the winning team is always nerve-wracking, the students said.
"You don't know until you know," Shevlin said.
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It's the fifth win in six years for the SETV program run by Mike Sanders. SHS students who enroll in Sanders' television class as freshman can get involved with SETV. Sanders will pair students who show enough interest and ability to compete.
Shevlin, Mitchell and Walle have teamed since freshman year, and Murphy joined sophomore year. The students say part of why they do so well in competition is because of how much time they've spent working with each other.
"It really helps you understand the team," Murphy said.
In the competition, students create a 3-minute newscast based on material given to them that day. The newscast must be flawless and fill the time exactly. Based on a packet of information given to them that day, the team splits into groups to pick the most newsworthy stories and to write scripts.
Once the initial scripts are writ
ten, they work on the banter between on-air talents Shevlin and Mitchell.
Technical director Walle then starts working on the second-by-second rundown and floor director Murphy proofreads, edits and keeps the whole group on task.
"Gabby is really great about communicating with us," Mitchell said. "She's phenomenal at what she does."
After the competition, Mitchell and Shevlin are always the most nervous, Walle said. Murphy and Walle tend to be more calm and confident in how the competition went, in part, because Mitchell and Shevlin can only see and hear themselves, while Murphy and Walle see the broadcast as a whole.
"We saw them. We know they did fine," Walle said.
And while none of the students plans to go into broadcast news, they all said skills they learned -- communication, nonverbal cues, multitasking, teamwork, technology -- will aid them in whatever career they ultimately choose.
Shevlin will study at Tulane University, Mitchell at Bayside College, Walle at State College of Florida and Murphy at University of Florida.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.