A student from Mark Silverstein’s Media Arts Class at Douglas High School was recently awarded a scholarship by television producer Rob Pollard, a Douglas native himself.
Jose Pena Rico was presented with a $500 check from Pollard and a $200 check from Silverstein.
Rico says he will plans on attending New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, N.M. this fall where he will major in digital filmmaking.
Rico says Silverstein’s program is the whole reason he is going to NMSU.
“Everything that I have learned here has inspired me to go into this field,” he said. “ (Mr. Silverstein) has really taught me a lot. He has shown me a lot of stuff that goes on behind the camera which I found to be very interesting.”
Rico says he’s only been involved in the Media Arts program at DHS for just two years and now wishes he had been involved longer.
“The program we have here at DHS inspires new generations as well as new students to go into something different that they might not be typically going into,” he said.
Silverstein actually went to NMSU and met with the head of the program as well as some of the instructors, toured the campus as well as the program and came back and told Jose that would be a good school for him to go to if this is the path he chose to pursue.
“Jose was in here his freshman year then he took a couple of years off,” Silverstein said. “I always knew he had a passion for film. Even when he wasn’t in here we’d talk about movies he was watching. His mom was real good about letting him watch a bunch of different styles of movies. I always thought he had the senseabilities to be a filmmaker. … I’m pretty proud he got this scholarship.”
Silverstein said Rico is now, officially, an Adobe certified editor which is a professional certification.
“I think NMSU is a great match for Jose,” Silverstein said. “They’re story based. They like to turn out story tellers. I think he has what it takes to be a good storyteller.”
Silverstein stated he was really happy Pollard offered up this scholarship.
“I think it shows that someone who is in the industry is taking the time to celebrate and congratulate our students who have shown interest in this industry,” he said.
Pollard currently films a television show on Discovery called Life Below Zero.
“I was born in Douglas and moved to California when I was about two,” he said. “Douglas has been a part of me still. I enjoy coming back and visiting.”
He said shooting Life Below Zero was one of the most rewarding television shows that he has ever shot.
“I have close to 120 television episodes under my belt and Life Below Zero is right there at the top,” he said. “It is a challenging show but it’s also rewarding
Pollard said the scholarship, the June Dews Memorial Media Arts Scholarship, was named after his grandmother who was basically responsible for all his family being born in Douglas.
“This is our first time doing this,” he said. “I hope to make it an annual event.”
Pollard added he is very impressed with Silverstein’s Media Arts program and says it’s actually better than the program he had growing up in California.
“Teachers like Mr. Silverstein are a godsend,” he said. “He is such a valuable resource these kids have if they want to pursue film or television.”
Pollard says college is going to be amazing for Jose and he is going to learn a lot.
“He definitely has a bright future in this industry,” Pollard concluded.