WHS No Excuses is a Second Home
by Matthew Amlong
The idea of telling the story of a kid who has turned their grades around stuck out to me. I was having a little trouble actually finding a kid who had turned their bad grades into good ones until Ms. Turner helped me out. She suggested that I talked to Tim Branson, who is the teacher in No Excuses. From there, Mr. Branson suggested that I interview one of his students, Ashley Zimmer.
After interviewing Ashley and hearing the way she praised the No Excuses class and teachers, I decided to shift my focus toward the No Excuses program rather than just one single kid’s specific story. I went back to Mr. Branson and asked if he had any more suggestions for kids that I could interview that were in the No Excuses program. He suggested that I interview one of his longtime students, Ian Kentch.
Ian has been in the program since middle school. He really appreciates what he has gained from it. Ian gave a great interview and had a lot to say about how helpful and supportive No Excuses has been throughout his academic career.
After I got all the interviews, it was time to write the script. I had gotten a ton of great soundbites from each interview, but I was having trouble piecing them all together. Thankfully, Ms. Turner was happy to help me brainstorm voiceovers to link the story together.
My last obstacle was getting b-roll. I got some basic shots of the kids in class and them working on homework, but the hours that I was able to film were also like “free hours” for the No Excuses kids, so Mr. Branson wasn’t doing any actual teaching during that hour. Morgan Gordy helped me out a ton since she was able to grab some extra b-roll shots of Mr. Branson teaching and helping kids out during her fourth hour TA time with BJJTV.
The story turned out great in my opinion. I hope you think so, too. It's good to know that there are places like No Excuses at WHS that can help you reach your full potential.