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Students highlight local tourist attractions with award-winning videos

May 10, 2019

Three high schools sent video teams out earlier this year to create a final cut celebrating the “cool jobs” of Somerset County’s hospitality and tourism industry.

The first-ever contest challenged students from Somerset County high schools to create three-minute films about businesses connected to hospitality and tourism and to learn about potential careers in the industry.

More than 100 students, parents, elected officials and business owners attended an awards luncheon Thursday at the Somerset Country Club, where the schools’ videos were displayed and the winners were announced.

Awards were presented in three categories: outstanding creativity, best marketing plan and outstanding overall. Videos were reviewed by a 35-member panel of judges from the Southern Alleghenies organization.

Somerset took home the awards for outstanding creativity and the top award, best hospitality/tourism message, for its film about Seven Springs Mountain Resort and its offerings.

The Rockwood team took home the award for best marketing plan for Laurel Hill State Park, and the Berlin Brothersvalley team was asked to add to its video on the Great Allegheny Passage to be used on websites to promote the biking and hiking trail.

Chloe Hoover, a senior at Somerset Area High School, became involved in the project through her editing class and enjoyed the opportunity it gave her to enhance the skills she has been developing. William Shaulis, a junior, said that learning how to show opportunities in your community was a highlight of the project for him. Ian Schrift, a junior, Nathan Hainzer, a senior, and Alexander Diaz, a junior, rounded out the team at the luncheon.

After putting together a marketing plan, interviewing, editing and filming, the production teams from Berlin, Rockwood and Somerset celebrated their work over hot dogs and pizza Thursday. The Business Education Partnership Video Contest awards luncheon was sponsored by Tableland Services, Pennsylvania CareerLink-Somerset County and the Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board.

The Rockwood team’s marketing plan had “an almost perfect score in all the categories,” according to Deb Hoover, business services coordinator with Pennsylvania CareerLink and the Community Action Partnership for Somerset County.

Hoover and Sharon Clapper, of the Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board, presided over the event. Jared Bundy, digital marketing director at the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, also spoke at the luncheon.

Senior Chelsie Cummings, of Rockwood, provided a video clip on Laurel Hill State Park. She also joined the rest of the team to provide breathtaking scenes of waterfalls and hiking trails and clips of events that have drawn thousands of participants, along with discussions by park rangers about job opportunities.

Teammate Abbye King, a senior, said, “It is important for the video to show things that are around you that you don’t see.”

Sisters Rebecca Johnson, a senior, and Allison Johnson, a sophomore, enjoyed learning the “different aspects of the business (videography),” according to Allison. Jamie Jones, a senior, and Carter Atchison, a sophomore, rounded out the team at the luncheon.

Atchison, who led the Rockwood team, said he has lived near the park but realized he did not know much about it.

“I didn’t realize how much more there was,” he said.

Berlin’s team leader, senior Cannon Hay, said his group responded to the video challenge by highlighting the town’s evolution, which is being driven in part by bike traffic from the Great Allegheny Passage and September 11th National Memorial Trail.

Also attending the ceremony were team members Ivy Slope, a senior, Carlyn Hay, sister to Cannon, and Sydney Hersch, both sophomores.

Pick up a copy of the June issue of Somerset Magazine for more on this story.