Cowboy Television (CTV) adviser Alfredo Pichardo has been teaching television production at CCHS for the past 12 years. In all of that time, he has built up a reputation.
“Crazy,” freshman Will Barringer said of Pichardo’s teaching. “As a teacher, his presence is like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s just my friend. My friend is teaching me how to edit today.’”
Pichardo studied at Florida State University, where he majored in Communications. Since then, he has worked for companies like Disney, Univision and the Pan American Sports Network. But it was at one of his later work experiences that he was presented with the opportunity to teach at Cooper City High for the first time.
While creating a commercial for Broward County Public Schools, Pichardo was recommended for a position at CCHS. Two days later, he was hired.
“In 2005, I started teaching at Cooper City, and I’ve been here since,” Pichardo said. “Which is probably the longest job I’ve held.”
But perhaps the most interesting aspect of this is the reason why.
“I think this is probably the only job that has given me a return to what I do,” Pichardo said. “I’ve covered news, I’ve covered Wimbledon [a worldwide tennis championship], I’ve covered death and everything. But, I think what I get from teaching is watching.”
“He sees potential in everyone.”
Pichardo’s methods are known to be tough; after years of working in the production industry, he now has expectations on par with his experiences.
“Even though he’s tough on people, he always wants what’s best for them because he sees potential in everyone,” sophomore CTV member Reese Abrahamoff said.
Part of what makes Pichardo’s class so unique is his hands-off approach to teaching; rather than giving step-by-step instructions, he encourages students to learn as they go. Some students find this ambiguity frustrating and difficult to understand, but others know that in the end, Pichardo’s methods are beneficial.
“Walking into his class is like walking into a war zone where only the strong survive,” graduate Shawn Ebanks said. “He does whatever is necessary to break the limits you give yourself to strengthen your resolve and develop your talents.”
The benefits of Pichardo’s teaching style go beyond students’ high school educations. Some have found that he has helped them in their endeavors after graduation.
“He has had a major impact within my career,” Ebanks said. “He was actually the person who helped me get my first production job at a local studio. He even went as far as recommending me for a video shoot that I got to take part of in Colombia recently.”
It is results like these that keep Pichardo teaching. He has seen his students go on to excel in the production field. Seeing his students’ progress is the most rewarding part of it all.
“He does whatever is necessary to break the limits you give yourself.”
“[I see] what I started and how I got them into the TV industry and where they’re working now,” Pichardo said. “And the kids still get into contact with me, that’s amazing. The kid that started in high school and has major accomplishments.”
Pichardo’s guidance goes beyond the production field, despite his title as an educator. Samantha Caldwell, a graduate of CCHS and a previous president of the CTV program, spoke of Pichardo’s role as a mentor.
“[Pichardo] has taught me how to be a leader and take initiative in the classroom,” Caldwell said. “He has become not only a mentor but someone I can trust to help me with any problems I have.”
Current students of Pichardo have also seen this quality in the classroom.
“He’s helped me with the subject of the class, with television production and filming and all that,” Abrahamoff said. “But he also taught me about real life and how to apply yourself to specific things, and he doesn’t just focus on the academics, he also focuses on making you a person in general.”
Overall, the success that his students have found goes to show the influence of Pichardo on those that he teaches.
“They started here, and just looking at where they’re going, what they’re doing… that’s heartwarming,” Pichardo said. “Whether they knew they wanted to get into this business or not, I lit their fire, and now they’re a torch.”
Photo by Casey Chapter