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‘Digital Knight’ showcases student efforts

May 17, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Vince Marcucci was put in charge of this year's Digital Knight, the marquis event for North Fort Myers High School's arts students.

He was also the biggest award winner in the short history of the event, winning three top honors, one scholarship, and placing in the top three for two of his other works.

The senior, who will attend the University of Central Florida in the fall, took home the trophy and swag for the best short film, best commercial and best music video. He was also third in the short film and commercial categories and also won the $400 scholarship given to the best senior.

Article Photos

The signs with all the winners lined up in a row at Digital Knight at North Fort Myers High School last week.

"I can't be grateful enough for all of this. I appreciate all the help I've gotten from my teachers the last four years. They've helped me through every step of the process," Marcucci said.

Marcucci started making films in elementary school, basically skateboarding videos, but once he got into high school, he developed a passion for it.

"I started film making, creating new stories and it came from the confidence my teachers had in me. That's where I started to grow more," Marcucci said, who said he hasn't decided whether to do narrative or documentary film making.

The event, in its fifth year, was run by the teachers until this year, when the students took over nearly the entire process. The only thing the teachers did was keep the winners a secret. Marcucci was put in charge, got a club together, and together they hired the judges, selected the prizes and decided how the show would run.

It was decided to announce the winners at the event, rather than in advance, to add suspense.

Jennifer Curls, teacher, said this year's event had more than 500 submissions. Thirty were recognized, and the talent gets better every year, she said.

Even better for her was the opportunity to hear the students thank her and the other teachers for the work they had done.

"They always say it in class, but when they come up with their parents and peers and say it is nice. Being recognized," Curls said. "The kids just did awesome. The crowd was 100 percent focused on it. I don't think I could've done it this year. It gets bigger and better."

Winners included: Erica Dostie, highest Microsoft score; Angel Rivera, Animation; Justin Wunderly, 3-D model; Jonathan Salas, Video Game; Graye Haugland; Ava Koester, digital photo; Rebecca Brownlie, photo manipulation.

Parents expressed their pride in the winners with Jim and Mary Dostie extremely happy with Erica's win.

"She blows me away with what she can do. She's so talented and it never ceases to amaze me what she can do on her own," Jim said. "She's active in a lot of things. Sometimes we have to motivate her, but she's very self-motivated."

The winners also expressed pride.

Salas, who created a game called "An Average Sunday," where a large guy has his ice cream stolen by an alien armada, with his mission being to retrieve it, said he didn't think he was going to win since there was so much great competition.

"There were so many fantastic games displayed here, so it was a shock. I'm surprised Vince didn't win," Salas joked. "I want to continue with my game art design in college."



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