‘Hawk News’ an unforgettable experience

Recent Horizon High graduate James Governali-Anselm shares abouthis time as executive producer for the school’s TV program.

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  • | 12:15 p.m. June 19, 2024
James Governali-Anselm was a member of last year’s ‘Hawks News’ team.
James Governali-Anselm was a member of last year’s ‘Hawks News’ team.
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I walk into the broadcasting room at Horizon High School before anyone else. It’s 6:50 a.m. when I start the pre-show to-do list: flicking the lights on, powering up equipment, transposing a show into the teleprompter. I am the executive producer, and we have a show to put on.

The Horizon High School DVT program was established three years ago, with the opening of the school itself, under the guidance of Patrick Tyler. He was an industry professional for more than 20 years, a freelancer and graduate of the University of Central Florida. Horizon High is lucky to have him.

Under his guidance, I helped pioneer the broadcast show “Hawk News,” which you can view on YouTube.

From the name of the show to how the show script would run and what stories would be done, I have been there since the rocky start.

Film and TV has always been a passion of mine. I’ve had aspirations of being a writer for as long as I can recall, from the young age of 3. I grew up in New York being exposed to a variety of films, museums and novels that formed my worldview. Moving to Florida at the end of eighth grade and on the cusp of COVID-19 — with the intention of studying under Nancy Laurenzana at Windermere High School — was an interesting, sporadic time.

I had dreams of doing news shows and having my work shown at the Enzian Theater. With the seeming winds of change, the notion of masking while on campus to make this happen quickly set in. However, as fate would have it, Horizon West grew, and by 10th grade I was relocated to Horizon High before getting the opportunity to make a cinematic difference.

It was a nerve-wracking transfer. Yet again, anxiety and distress lingered. A new school would mean separation from friends and the progress I’d made, with untold fears of what awaited hanging in the shadows. Yet, the entire school was going through the exact same change as me, and little did I know about the amazing opportunities in store, waiting in the wings.

The first year of our broadcast program was a slow start. There was a series of roadblocks, even issues with equipment delivery. Our first show didn’t hit air until March. However, when our crew took the leap of faith under Mr. Tyler’s guidance, we adapted to meet the challenge.

When interviews for executive producers arose, I jumped at the chance and was granted the role. Early on, I wanted to have a bit of fun filming, so I decided to establish Halloween specials, as well as end-of-year shows. You can see these on Youtube as well. Although there are three executive producers on staff per year, I am proud to be the only executive producer to be producing for the full run of the program. It was a challenging, invigorating job.

Each week, the mantle of producing shows is passed onto the next executive in the cycle of three. This responsibility is fully directed by those producing students. This includes finding information; writing the script; and casting roles like anchors, camera operators, teleprompters and the switcher. Shows can be a daunting task, as they must be filmed in one class period so the SD card will be given to Mr. Tyler, who will edit and upload it to YouTube for everyone to view by 8 a.m. the next day. This past year, Mr. Tyler felt we could handle an entire week of shows complete with stories when available. We all elevated to this amazing task.

The DVT and broadcasting program has offered exponential growth for me. With experience from the school station, I was afforded the opportunity of becoming the reporter for HHS FFA under Stephanie Jornd. I also jumped at the chance to film and edit coverage of the first two football games of the school, feeling it was important to document those keystone moments.

From that first covered football game complete with fireworks in the background, I was there to capture, report, edit and produce. I embraced the role and eagerly took on opportunities in writing or covering interviews of staff and events around school. Through it all, I always felt that everyone should feel valued.

Recently, Ashley Fisher, who runs the theater department, put on “Urinetown” the musical.

I was there to make sure public relations was covered with stories all week long. As a producer there’s also a responsibility to run the newsroom, oversee classmates, and keep stories on task. Students within the program need to film, edit and produce three stories a quarter. These stories can be anything related to the school, events and local community. An important aspect of producing was to guide these stories to completion through deadlines, hands-on help and feedback.

Enzian Theater in Winter Park puts on a student film festival, a driving reason I enrolled. Windermere High enters this contest every year, and it has been a goal to enter since freshman year.

This past year, I took a leap of faith and ended up winning an award for Best Directing. Throughout my time as a producer, I learned a lot of valuable lessons on leadership, communication skills and connection. Maybe the most important of these, I found the opportunities needed to succeed are often right in front of you. You have to be open to them and evaluate where you can make a difference.

Life has taken me in many different directions from an SAE project in the FFA on growth and development in Horizon West, to working at the local church, or even writing three books. The outlier for each of these was to relish the available opportunities and see where life takes you. This May, I helped pick the people who are taking the producer mantle, as this year’s team happened to be seniors. Look up Hawk News on YouTube; you might be pleasantly surprised at what your local high school is producing.

I am so excited to announce that Disney is backing our backdrop for all foreseeable shows. Even though I will not be able to use the set, it is extremely satisfying to know I had a part in this outcome and helping future students elevate the pursuit. We handed our reins over to Daniel, Esteban and Max. I know they will do amazing things with the program.

To anyone who can relate to this experience, hold fast and have faith. Life is a beautiful thing. I hope each one of you reading this will strive to elevate the pursuit and soar in your own ways. Like we always ended our shows: Have an amazing day, Hawks.


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