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Pitman High students named winners of TIDs first video contest
The winning video team from Pitman High School crowd around their teacher and advisor Andy Walker as they review their video on energy efficiency. - photo by BROOKE BORBA / The Journal

Dapper suits, black and white grainy film, a loving family, and…energy efficiency? This isn’t your ordinary “Leave it to Beaver” rerun, or 1950s “how to” video promotion. Instead, Pitman High School students decided to revamp the classics when they created their winning submission to Turlock Irrigation District’s 1st Annual ‘Take Action’ Energy Efficiency Video Contest.

Their video, “Environmental PSA,” featured how compact fluorescent lamp bulbs are more efficient than common incandescent bulbs, and showcased students from Pitman High School’s drama department and video arts program.

Pitman High teacher Andy Walker notified his students about the event, and has collaborated with TID to ensure youth involvement in energy efficiency.

“TID has been in contact with me for some time. They wanted a teacher’s perspective on how to get these kids involved. Kids are so into technology, and we thought they would be impressed with what they saw, and they were,” said Walker.

Call for entries for the contest began back in November 2012, and encouraged high school students within TID’s electric service area to compete in the video contest. The topics ranged from CFL light bulbs to planting shade trees and recycling refrigerators. The videos were instructed to be no longer than two minutes.

“I basically gave them the information, and they ran with it,” said Walker. “Out of all the entries, we took 1st and 3rd place, which was pretty exciting.”

Pitman Students Andrew Cheesman, Luke Gonzales, Chris Hernandez, Ashlyn Inman, Karandip Basra, and Barbara Beasley were the winning creators of the first place video. They were granted a plaque at Tuesday’s TID Board meeting, $3,000 to the school; $500 gift card to the site administrator and $1,000 lump sum. An additional $1,000 went to Pitman High for also taking 3rd place.

“We were brainstorming and we decided to do an instructional 50s video. We kept thinking of ‘Leave it to Beaver,’” said writer and director Hernandez. “It was all done in one continuous take. The whole process took two or three hours to shoot.”

“I was trying to tap into being an old 50s dad,” said actor Gonzales. “I liked to think of my character as Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch.”

The winning members all agreed that the video was quirky, fun and entertaining. To celebrate as a team, they decided to spend some of their winnings at Turlock’s Red Robin and Yogolicious.

Pitman High School will also honor the students at the next Turlock Unified School Board meeting, held on April 9 at 6 p.m.

The videos were judged by a five-member panel who focused on creativity, accurate information, appropriate humor, and cinematography. Honorable mentions are Hilmar High School’s second place contest video featuring energy efficient refrigerators, and Pitman High School’s third place entry about CFLs bulbs.

Though 21 high schools were contacted about the contest, only three participated. TID hopes that in the future, more high schools will participate after seeing the results of the winners from this year’s winners.

The top three videos are featured on TID’s website at and also on TID’s YouTube channel. Additionally, TID is looking to package the winning video to be shown in movie theatres this summer to further bring energy efficiency awareness to customers.