merges student passion with high tech skills and tools
Digital Multimedia helps students carve a
path to creative futures
18, 2012 -
Daeshan Buseck was always intrigued by the videos he watched on
“I would see these really cool videos people were doing that
used different video effects,” said the Johnstown High School
junior. The footage featured highlights and “walk-through” tips
of popular video games.
Buseck began to explore various software programs used to create
online videos, and soon realized he could make money by
recording his own videos. He also discovered HFM BOCES digital
multimedia and communications program would be a great fit for
“I knew this program was really going to help me for my future
career of graphic design or video effects,” he said.
While he had gained a fair amount of knowledge about multimedia
on his own – Buseck is part of YouTube’s Partner Program, which
allows creators and producers of original content to earn money
from their videos on YouTube – he appreciates how much he has
learned since starting the HFM BOCES program in September. “I
learn something new every day because these Adobe programs are
so immense,” he said.
Most students don’t enter the program with Buseck’s level of
experience. Yet, teachers Andy Huth and Phil Schuyler know the
instruction and hands-on experience provided through the program
– one of 17 career and technical education programs at HFM BOCES
– helps equip students for their future in digital media and
Students learn, among other things, to design logos, create
websites, shoot video and add animated features.
“Our students get a lot of information and they get it very
quickly,” said Schuyler. “They learn nine different software
titles in two years. You could spend a whole year on Photoshop
in college, but here you’ll do Photoshop and eight other titles
in two years.”
“We keep a tight pace,” Huth said.
Welcome to the real world
Schuyler said students also learn interpersonal skills. In the
first year, students generally take on a communications project
for an HFM BOCES department. They may be asked to create a logo,
develop an informational brochure or create a poster about a
“The students have to approach the faculty and get the
information they need for the project,” said Huth. He said
faculty give feedback on how students handle the task. “It’s
great practice for when they go into the world and do cold
Schuyler said the 21st century skills students learn– skills
such as how to communicate, work in a group and think critically
– are invaluable. “It doesn’t help if you’re a genius at the
computer if you don’t have interpersonal skills,” he said.
Throughout the two-year program, students work for local
companies on a variety of internship projects, which in the past
have ranged from promotional videos for Nathan Littauer Hospital
to posters for the Business in Education Alliance. The projects,
Schuyler said, are an essential part of the students’ education.
“If you’re not doing real-world projects, you’re not a career
and technical school.”
Huth said their HFM BOCES classrooms – which includes
state-of-the-art Apple computers and digital equipment, as well
as audio mixing and recording equipment in a digitally equipped
sound studio – provides a “perfect environment” for students to
“Students realize the potential of multimedia and their world,”
said Huth. “Rather than being a watcher, they can be a
contributor. They come to a supportive environment and are
rewarded for trying to go above and beyond.”
Schuyler agreed. “Even if a student doesn’t choose to go into
digital media, the skills they learn here can be used in any
arena. Say some student decides to become a logger. They know
how to create a website for their logging company,” he said.
“It’s going to be something in their pocket, and these skills
are indispensible in any industry today.”
Huth has been at HFM BOCES for six years, Schuyler for five.
They hear about some of the successes their former students are
having, and they talk about creating a system to track their
students. Both know they have successfully armed their students
with skills that will make them college and/or career ready.
“Every student who comes back says, ‘I am just kicking butt,’”
Buseck realizes his BOCES education will help him in the future.
“When you get to work with people and work hands-on, you build
better relationships and better 21st century skills,” he said.
“Being able to connect with people, talk with people, and share
knowledge is definitely a key to being successful.”
Buseck said his family used to question the amount of time he
spent on the computer. “I would tell them, ‘Trust me, it’s worth
it,’” he said. “Now they see that it is.”
For more information on HFM BOCES’ Digital Multimedia program,