The Savvy Sylvanian visits the Sylvania Digital Media Club

A visit with the Sylvania Digital Media Club
by Mary Helen Darah

Dani Fuller, owner of Fuller Art House, is interviewed by Jaynal Lonsway, member of the Sylvania Digital Media Club. Students cover over 50 events and announcements for charities, churches and local businesses annually.

A visit with the Sylvania Digital Media Club
I always thought I was a proficient multi-tasker until I met Patrick Abec, founder of the Digital Media Club USA. He serves as mentor, cameraman, “line feeder,” and coach for local students. “I talked to a local reporter from 13abc who told me that many colleges have media clubs that cover events. They thought having a club for younger ages would be beneficial. I began the Digital Media Club USA in November of 2016,” stated Abec. “I had a vision of forming other clubs in the area under that umbrella.” Club members gain experience being filmed while interviewing local nonprofit and business leaders. “Our first successful club was in Bryan, Ohio. I went to other area high schools with the idea and we now have clubs in 12 communities,” said Abec. Some communities, like Sylvania, have students that participate in the club who attend Northview or Southview as well as parochial schools. Therefore the clubs, to a certain extent, are set up like other clubs that are independent of the schools. “We want to have freedom to go outside the classroom and be free from constraints of dealing with school schedules and having to film interviews within school buildings,” explained Abec.

The Sylvania Digital Media Club is open to students ages 10-18. “If kids are under 16 years old, they must have a parent accompany them to the interview,” stated Abec. Club members specifically promote and attend area events, especially for nonprofit organizations. “We do a preview interview two weeks before to help drive traffic there and we also come to the event the day of,” he stated. “All the participants in the event can share our coverage. We do not share it on websites. All of our clubs have a club Facebook page and we share the footage from that venue.”

I was interviewed by Liam Veloske, a fourth grader at Sylvania Stranahan Elementary, regarding an upcoming event at Sylvania Area Family Services. Veloske is the youngest member of the Sylvania Club. Abec, who helped conduct and film the interview, believes students gain confidence by looking people in the eye while interviewing them. With me, a ladder was necessary to accomplish eye level questioning. The young man held his own, with a few assists from his mentor. Surprisingly, the most difficult task he faced was the pronunciation of his own name at the end of the interview… which could happen to a seasoned pro.

The Savvy Sylvanian is interviewed by Liam Veloske, of The Sylvania Digital Media Club, in the food pantry at Sylvania Area Family Services.

Once an interview is completed, it is aired on their Club’s Facebook page and the student who conducted the interview is hashtagged. “The students are meeting the leaders of charitable organizations and businesses. In the future, students can hit the hashtag and show prospective employers and/or colleges their work,” stated Abec.

There is no fee to join the digital media clubs and expenses are paid for by businesses through sponsorships and ads. There is also no fee for nonprofits and businesses to promote their event. It is free to the community. The majority of members have discovered the Club from the adults in their life. “In most cases, the parents found out about us first before their kids,” stated Abec. “We have 32 students in northwest Ohio due to the nudging from their parents get them involved.”

Abec enjoys seeing Club members gain skills and confidence in front of the camera. “At first they go line by line, then you find they begin to ask questions independently. Since we are doing a great deal of charity interviews, it is usually a standard 6-9 question interview,” he stated. “I have a couple of seniors who said the program gave them the ability to carry themselves at a higher level. They also appreciated being able to have college admission offices utilize their hash-tagged video material. A video is far more than a static line on a resume. Some students have varsity letters, but when colleges can see students interviewing business and charitable organization leaders, it helps create a positive impression.”

The multitasking Abec hopes to continue to grow the clubs in the future. “Seeing the kids grow in confidence is rewarding but one of the things I will always remember came from a parent,” he recalled. “She told me that when she’s 80 years-old, that this is something she can watch to remember all the great memories. With other clubs, parents are spectators. In the Sylvania Digital Media Club, parents are right in the heat of the action. Parents help students set the interview appointments so there is the flexibility of fitting interviews into busy family life. It really is a great thing to share with your child.” I know, I enjoyed being interviewed by Liam Veloske. Who knows, maybe the next time our paths cross, we won’t need a ladder.

The Sylvania Digital Media Club is always looking for new members as well as community events to share.
Find more information on their Facebook page:

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