BY SABRINE BRISMEUR
Cowboy Television returned to Florida as an internationally-ranked broadcast team after a student convention in California, following what initially seemed like a crushing defeat.
“We didn’t win any individual categories,” junior Harris Ness said. “It seemed like we weren’t going to win anything until the very end.”
The high school broadcast team flew to Anaheim for five days of intense competition, rivaling at least one hundred other schools from around the country and even from outside the United States, as exemplified by one Russian team.
Returning to the convention as last year’s Best in the Nation winners for Broadcast Morning Show, the most coveted category win, CTV felt the pressure to continue their reign as international and national winners.
“I was hoping to get at least one award out of STN and to remain as one of the top three schools in the nation and keep CTV’s title,” Vice President Alexandra Delgado said.
This year, CTV submitted nine individual pieces, including a silent film, movie trailer, and news package. The only team submission was for “Crazy 8”, a rigorous all-staff competition where members need to collaborate in order to shoot, edit, and submit an eight-minute video in eight hours.
It was the same category that brought them first place victory last year in Georgia: a broadcast morning show. But as opposed to the vague prompt last year (“Good morning Atlanta”), CTV was forced to get a little more creative this year with “The non-Disney side of Anaheim.”
The team split up and interviewed residents of Anaheim to complete the video, which explored a soup kitchen, a car museum, local transportations options, a Crossfit gym, a community garden, and Yorba Park.
Filming and editing the show went smoothly up until the very end, when complications with uploading the finalized video to the USB interrupted the good mood of the CTV members. After a few tense minutes of technical issues, the video uploaded and CTV was able to submit the Crazy 8 video.
Then, they waited for Friday’s award ceremony.
But members of CTV were shocked during the closing ceremony on Friday, when winners were announced at the final dinner banquet.
Category after category, CTV was passed over and received no awards.
“Competing on a national level is so hard, because you’re against hundreds of other students and teams,” junior Isabella Tocci said. “We have years. Last year we swept some categories, but we also have years where we don’t get anything at all.”
The broadcast team was on the edge of their seats as the ceremony drew closer to a close, and by some moment, the members seemed to lose hope.
“At that point [the last announcements of the ceremony], we were so upset because we hadn’t won anything so far,” Ness said. “For [every member of CTV who did not get an award], we’d say ‘it’s okay, we’ll win another award’ and pat them on the back, but then we would lose again. It was difficult.”
The tides turned for CTV’s fortune, however, at the very end of the banquet, when winners for the Crazy 8 Morning Show, known to many as the most prestigious category, were announced.
The Cooper City students took home third place in the nation, solidifying their spot as a top-three national winner and upholding their monopoly on the Crazy 8 Morning Show category.
“When they started the Crazy 8s announcements, they started with all the other categories before ours,” Tocci said. “But they finally announced honorable mentions for the Morning Show, and then third, and we got it. We had been crying because we were so distressed, but now we were crying out of relief and happiness.”
For many members of CTV, winning a top award for the team category was far more rewarding than winning for any individual piece. Broadcast students claim Crazy 8s is by far the most difficult category; it involves cooperation and organization for a successful filming and editing process.
“Even though we didn’t win any individual awards, we won one of the most important things: Broadcast Morning Show,” Delgado said. “Winning that means we can all work together as a team, and produce a show so great it can be seen as number three in the entire nation.”
Members of CTV expressed their relief and elation upon their return to Florida.
“The feeling of placing can’t be put into words,” President Lian Chung-Valuntas said. “CTV has always worked its hardest to be the best and that’s easily evident through what happened this past weekend. I couldn’t be any prouder to call CTV my family and to keep the legacy of this amazing club going.”
Featured image by CTV.