Lights, camera, action: MIHS students win prestigious Telly Awards

Instructor Michael Ketchum said it’s difficult to attain a Telly Award.

Two of his students in the Mercer Island High School (MIHS) media technology, filmmaking and storytelling class have joined others by rising to the challenge and making their mark at the 44th annual awards competition.

Jonathan Aggar notched a silver award in the Best Student Works division for “Climate Changed,” which captures a bleak but not impossible future impacted by the effects of climate change, according to a press release. Sophia Chew earned a bronze award in the same category for “Literally Opposites,” which displays a unique perspective of two similar — yet opposite — students, the release reads.

Both students were the only high school-level victors of the prestigious awards, which are bestowed upon entrants for excellence in video and television across all screens. The record-breaking year featured nearly 13,000 entries from across the globe.

Ketchum celebrated his MIHS students by commenting, “Jonathan and Sophia, as well as the rest of the class, are the creators and innovators who spotlight diverse voices, who are building a more sustainable industry, and who break through the static with their creativity. I couldn’t be prouder of these two, and the future is bright for these two and filmmaking at MIHS.”

Aggar, a graduating senior, gave a glimpse into the creation process of the public service announcement (PSA) featuring a teen girl living in the year 2100: “I came up with this idea last summer while thinking about my future, and I couldn’t get the idea of climate change out of my head, so I had to do something about it. In my experience, I find that the majority of people don’t understand how dire the issue of climate change is. We only have so much time to mitigate its effects and we need to act now. I hope that when people watch the PSA, they find it informative and start to realize the risks of our current situation.”

The Islander, who entered the filmmaking world during quarantine and curates his own YouTube channel, will major in technology and information management and minor in film in the college realm.

Tellys Executive Director Sabrina Dridje praised the locals and other winners in the press release: “The caliber of the work this season coming from creators such as Jonathan and Sophia truly has reflected the theme of breaking out and standing out,”

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