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After taking a video production class, ‘there was no other option’

Your Dream is Our Dream: Trina Varano

Rockford — A few years ago, Rockford High School senior Trina Varano was planning to spend her final years in high school training to go into the medical field at Kent Career Technical Center. Now, she’s on a high from winning her first — actually three — Emmys presented by the Michigan EMMY Chapter – NATAS for her work in student video production.

‘I had to take the class for me to understand that film was always the answer.’

—Trina Varano, senior, Rockford High School

Trina is starting her senior year as the executive producer for Rockford High School’s Beyond the Rock media program. She credits a video production class with teacher Kris DeYoung, taken during her sophomore year, with changing her focus from healthcare to this new path. She now plans to enter a film production program at a public university after she graduates. 

In April 2023, Trina won three Emmys awarded by the Michigan EMMY Chapter - Natas for her video production work
In April 2023, Trina won three Emmys awarded by the Michigan EMMY Chapter – Natas for her video production work

We asked Trina a few questions about how her dream evolved, and how her education at Rockford High School is propelling her to achieve great things. 

What is your dream for the future? “My dream is to study film and journalism at a four-year college and pursue a career in film in the future.”

Why is this your dream? “I started a film class in seventh grade and had a great interest for filming and editing, but once I got to the TV Studio class in my sophomore year in high school, I completely fell in love with the entire concept of film. I love to tell stories and create videos for my school and community. It started as a hobby but turned into something I am extremely passionate about.”

Was becoming a filmmaker always your dream? “I was originally enrolled in the medical program at KCTC (Kent Career Technical Center), but after taking the TV Studio program at the high school, I knew I wanted to go into a film career path. Once I dove right into the class and started exploring everything involved with film and digital media, it was as if there was no other option. I had to take the class for me to understand that film was always the answer. As I continued to work in the class, my feelings toward film only grew stronger.”

What do you hope to do as a career or occupation? “I am not exactly sure what specific film career I want to go into, but I hope to explore that in the rest of my high school life, college life, and even some internships. I do know that I want to tell incredible stories and make amazing videos.”

Rockford TV Studio Teacher Kris DeYoung, right, and TV Studio Technician Jason Springer encourage Trina to get out of her comfort zone while filming
Rockford TV Studio teacher Kris DeYoung, right, and TV Studio technician Jason Springer encourage Trina to get out of her comfort zone while filming

How are your school and your teachers at RPS supporting you as you pursue your dream? “My teachers are so helpful and supportive with my dreams of going into film. They have been with me every step of the way. They are always putting me on projects that challenge me and connect me with my community and school. They remind me that there is also an element of fun that goes along with every project. My teachers give me the opportunity to consistently improve my skills, both in film and socially.”

Are there any specific teachers that have inspired your journey into video production? “My TV Studio teachers Mr. DeYoung and Mr. Springer have definitely inspired me in the film aspect. They show an advanced level of videography and editing skills that I aspire to have one day. They always encourage me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things to better my ability. They give me countless opportunities to engage with my community and tell quality stories. My English teacher, Mrs. Decker, also inspires me in how she connects with people and helps everyone she can. Her words are so impactful. This inspires me in the concept of film because it shows just how powerful words can be with storytelling.”

Read more from Rockford: 
Film class ‘teaching us how to be whole
Students tackle youth mental health crisis with peers

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Allison Poosawtsee
Allison Poosawtsee
Allison Poosawtsee is a reporter covering Rockford Public Schools and Kent City Community Schools. She has spent 15+ years working and writing in the education context, first for her alma mater, Calvin University, and then for various businesses and nonprofit organizations in the Grand Rapids area. As a student journalist, she served as editor-in-chief of Calvin’s student newspaper where she garnered several Michigan Collegiate Press Association awards for her work. Allison is a proud parent of two Grand Rapids Public Schools scholars and a passionate advocate for the value of public education.


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