When Papillion LaVista High School student Aidan Cho heard from Media Academy Director Becky Hoch that the school was about to get its first video board, he stepped up to be the first student producer. Little did he know, that decision would change the course of his future.
Hoch wanted a student who would be around a couple of years to pave the way. The two of them created the program from the ground up. Hoch gave Cho a lot of freedom to explore the capabilities of the Daktronics video board, and he quite literally wrote the manual for future students.
“Up to that point, we were very much about live streaming, a little bit about journalism,” says Hoch. “We didn’t do much in terms of graphics creation other than creating some banner graphics and some lower thirds and thumbnails for our streams. In terms of motion graphics or animations or anything like that, we did virtually nothing like that at the time.”
As the student producer, Cho worked with students in graphic design, videography, animation, and motion graphics. He managed all the personnel and coordinated the timing of the entire production during football games, but he also handled much of the content creation.
Hoch says students who run the board during varsity athletic events are employed and paid by the school district, which keeps them accountable and provides excellent experience.
“It definitely has enhanced and broadened our curriculum and having that board has been a real educational asset,” she explains.
Cho had the opportunity to take that experience the next level in his education as well. During his senior year at PLV, he scored an internship with the district communications department. That experience led him to decide on a major in sports management.
“Once I decided that, I knew the video board was going to be a great stepping stone, knowing game day operations, and all the tips and tricks,” he says. “Then, I was talking to Brandon Noel, our (Daktronics) sales rep, once I decided that I was going to the University of South Dakota, and he mentioned that he knew one of the athletics staff members who was actually in charge of the crew for Coyote game days. So he introduced me to my current boss, and now I’ve got an opportunity to work football, basketball, soccer and track meets with the Coyotes.”
Cho’s new boss at USD is Jarren Duffy, Director of Athletic Marketing & Promotions. He says his high school experience helped him quickly transition to the university level.
“Aidan began as a freshman on our gameday production staff with a ton of experience,” says Duffy. “He had worked with Show Control in high school, which set him up for a seamless transition into our booth. His skill set has continued to grow throughout his time at USD and the sky is the limit for his potential.”
Through all the learning, growing and various experience, Hoch and Cho continue to exchange ideas. “When one of us sees a cool video idea, we’ll send it to each other,” says Cho. “I think it helps both of us grow, and it helps the Academy grow.”
Hoch adds, “That first fall, Aidan came back and was up in the booth with us and it was like having an in-house pro. That pipeline is just fantastic.”
Hoch says she is always excited to bring more opportunities to students and looks forward to using Crew Connect to help more of them connect with university experiences.
To hear the full journey from new video production to college experience and beyond, listen to the Daktronics Experience podcast.