Some of the greatest moments in sports history are etched in our memories because of video. With the evolution of media, including social media, television and streaming, videography has become even more important to the sports industry.
Jae’Lawn Green and Emma Harrington didn’t initially embark on a career in sports videography, but the skills they learned in high school helped them succeed in the industry.
Green aspired to a career in health care after completing the health science track at the Meridian Public School District’s Ross Collins Career and Technical Center (RCCTC), but an introduction to sports videography as a student at the ‘University of Mississippi led to a video post with the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League.
Harrington had a vision to pursue acting or engineering, but joining Madison Central High School’s (MCHS) Multimedia and Communication Career Academy sparked a passion for the sport that continues as a hardworking student. in the University of Mississippi’s award-winning Ole Miss Sports productions.
CTE teaches green to “be comfortable being uncomfortable”
After playing in the Ole Miss band his first year at Oxford, Green wanted to try a new playing experience. A friend suggested he watch the video team who filmed and edited the game for the football team. of the Rebels. This experience caused him to put his career aspirations in healthcare administration on hold to pursue a video position with the Titans.
“I thought what better time to do it than now after graduating from college with the experience I gained working with the Ole Miss football program,” Green said.
His role with the Titans includes filming practices and games, editing and recording footage for coaches and players, and providing technical support with the organization’s video systems. Although he assigned tasks, the sports industry can be unpredictable, he said, which requires “being comfortable with being uncomfortable,” a lesson he he learned at the RCCTC.
During clinics, he could be in the emergency room one day and in the labor and delivery unit the next. Each presented their own challenges, requiring the ability to think quickly when unexpected issues arise.
“I grew up, learned more about myself, and stepped out of my comfort zone when I was in health sciences,” Green said. “It helps develop critical thinking skills because you have to think on the spot and be ready for anything. It’s a similar job for an NFL program. I have my daily duties which remain the same, but if something goes wrong – let’s say one of the programs we use to bring down the coaches film – we need to think quickly and do whatever we can to put it back systems in operation. .”
Ensuring coaches and players have what they need to succeed means the Titans’ video staff must be a cohesive unit, similar to what they’ve learned through health sciences and competing with a partner. of HOSA – Future Health Professionals (HOSA), the health science course student organization.
“Health sciences and HOSA were about learning to work with others. If you can get help from someone else, you should, because many jobs require more than one person. For a full roster of players and a full staff of coaches, it takes a team,” Green said.
Devra Massey, Green’s former health sciences teacher who is now a school nurse at Northeast Lauderdale Middle School, saw Green become a leader who helped her peers prepare for HOSA competitions.
“I feel like that made him a leader and moved him forward,” Massey said. “Once you gave him that responsibility in a leadership role, he really excelled at helping others and teaching them to be successful.”
Massey said Green would be an asset to the healthcare community, but the soft skills he learned in the health sciences would translate to success in any career path.
“I always saw him set a goal, reach that goal, and finish it,” she said. “It makes me so happy that he achieved so much, and it was his work ethic that brought him here.”
RCCTC Director Rob Smith said Green is an example of how Career and Technical Education (CTE) provides skills that enable students to succeed regardless of their career path.
“With CTE, there’s this constant theme of preparing you for your future and your professional skills,” Smith said. “The industry tells us that it needs a certain subset of skills, and no matter what program you are in, whether at Ross Collins or any CTE program, you will get these attributes.”
Green advises young students pursuing CTE to “always learn from your experiences.”
“I learned so many things about health care that are useful, but I also learned various life skills – teamwork, leadership and critical thinking – that are useful in many different areas,” said- he declared.
Harrington puts the love of storytelling aside
Harrington planned to enter the engineering career academy at MCHS and follow her parents’ career path, but exposure to the multimedia and communications career academy showed her that she could take a passion for acting and translating it to the screen and into the sports industry.
David Cress, professor of history and high-tech video production at Harrington and current director of Career Academies and Innovative Programs at the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), said he saw Harrington “full of crack to do something to show his talent” after she saw the content produced by the academy of multimedia and communications professions.
The career academy – an innovative education model that combines academic and CTE courses to help students prepare for college and a career – allowed him to tap into his knowledge of acting, set design and costumes while exposing it to other areas of production, including cinematography and editing.
The students shot and produced content for the various Jaguars sporting events as part of their courses at the academy, and she was hooked the first time she covered a game from the sidelines.
“It was so much fun. I started loving the sport because the sideline perspective is completely different and humanizes the athletes,” Harrington said. digital content was an option without the academy courses. I wouldn’t work where I am now and I would love what I do now.
Although his focus shifted to sports, his theatrical background has always served him well in creating content for MCHS athletics and now various sports at Ole Miss.
“There is a certain level of storytelling and theatricality in any sport, especially football,” said Josh Stanford, an English and broadcast journalism teacher at Harrington and a program supervisor in MDE’s CTE office. . “She got really good at being able to take a football game and tell the story through these short videos that she put out every week.”
Harrington’s career experience at the academy exposed her to more than just sport. It allowed her to interview Governor Tate Reeves, put her between Fox News and CNN at the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and gave her the tools to create a documentary about the plane crash that cost her life. life to members of the Lynyrd Skynyrd band. .
The training she received at her career academy helped her win numerous awards, including the 2020 Mike Wallace Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and gave her a head start with Ole Miss Sports Productions.
“I feel like I’ve got a head start with all my high school training,” she says. “Honestly, I could have gotten out of high school and had a good-paying full-time job right now.”
The second-year Integrated Marketing and Communications major produces trending videos, player profiles, and other content for Ole Miss’ women’s golf, spirit, and soccer teams. She also developed an episode of the school’s documentary-style reality show “The Season” that featured women’s golf winning the 2021 NCAA championship.
“Many students have video production skills coming into our program, but few have been as advanced as Emma,” said Will Day, an Ole Miss Sports Production content producer. “She was able to slip in and excel at our core student tasks quickly and took every opportunity that came her way.
Harrington hopes to continue producing digital content in the professional sports ranks or with Disney Parks, but she eventually plans to return to an educational setting and introduce a new generation of students to video production as her teachers have. made for her.
“That’s a huge compliment. It’s like that feeling in your heart that you get when you see one of your kids doing something better than you did,” Stanford said of Harrington’s desire to give back to students.
Cress said Harrington is already giving back to those taking his career academy course, returning to MCHS to mentor students on Friday nights.
Green and Harrington are two examples of how the CTE and career academy model equips students with the soft and hard skills needed to succeed in the job market, regardless of career path.
This story originally appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of Connections magazine. Connections is published biannually by the Mississippi Department of Education and the Mississippi State University Curriculum and Research Unit to highlight career and technical education in the state.