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RUSD Award Winners At Reel Film Festival
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The Afterschool Program Advisors are shown here with the trophies that their students won at the red carpet awards ceremony held at the State Theatre for the Reel Life Film Festival. Photo Contributed

The Riverbank Unified School District Afterschool program Project A.C.T.I.O.N. (Afterschool Care Together In Our Neighborhoods) assisted the students from California Avenue Elementary, Mesa Verde Elementary, and Riverbank Language Academy in placing first and second in the Reel Life Film Festival.

The annual film festival is hosted by the Stanislaus County Office of Education and several schools in the area submit short films that are no longer than four minutes on the subject of their choice. The students spend several months learning how to create films using an application called iMovie in three categories: Animation, Documentary, and Blockbuster.

California Avenue received a first place trophy in Animation for their film “This man is going to heaven,” created by Mathew Hardin, Antonio Constantino, and Walter Felix with assistance from California Avenue Leader Gabriel Luna and afterschool program advisor Bianca Lopez.

Taking second place in the Animation category for “Aaron and Christian’s Playbook” were Aaron Brown and Christian Castro with assistance from Mesa Verde Leader Beverly Ranson and afterschool advisor Angela Bailey-Gabrie from Mesa Verde Elementary.

Winning first place in the Blockbuster category for “From Zero to Friends” were Ricky Pardo, Kharime Caratachea, Lilyana Calderon, Alexis Felix, Jessica Vigil, Ariana Garcia, Sophia Nash, Lily Bradley, Alexia Albor, Dominic Brown, Gabriel Key, Jesus Lopez, Christopher Mayfield, Andrew Reyes, Jairo Valenzuela, Ava Bradley, Armida Cisneros, Haylie Reyes, Jakira Vale, and Kryndee Wright along with assistance from RLA Leader Tina Castillo and afterschool advisor Monica Villarreal.

The Awards Ceremony was a red carpet affair held at the State Theatre in Modesto earlier this month where participants, afterschool program advisors, family and friends were invited to view the films and see the presentation of the awards.

“This event is always fun and interesting to see what other school sites in our region came up with,” stated Bailey-Gabrie, Mesa Verde Project ACTION ASP Advisor. “Riverbank was well represented with four films entered from Mesa, three films from California Avenue and two from RLA. The kids get very excited to see Riverbank take home an award each year.”

The students with a first or second place win received a trophy and a certificate. All first place winners received an iPad for the Afterschool Program.

“This event is so important because it is a culminating event to end this huge yearlong project that these kids have committed to and have worked hard on,” added Bailey-Gabrie. “Our students did extremely well this year. We had more staff helping with the films this year so it was easier to give more students the opportunity to participate and have an end result. Everyone did their best and really had a great outcome this year.”

At a recent Riverbank School Board Meeting, the students were recognized and the board and families viewed the three award winning films. The Afterschool Program hosted pizza parties at each school site for all the participants.

“I hope we will be able to keep learning and tweaking things each year to make it better or easier,” said Bailey-Gabrie. “These are big experiences that kids will always remember and have something tangible to show for all their hard work and dedication.”