Students Get Rolling with Story Knife Media Program

A digital arts program provides students with resources to learn traditional storytelling skills with modern tools

A student learns filming while on a local Story Knife adventure

Monday through Friday, after school, students attending the Story Knife Media program pursue their storytelling interests. From photo and video lessons to graphic design and editing sessions, they are creating and telling stories that are meaningful to them.

The program, which officially opened its doors over spring break this year, is open to Alaska Native and American Indian students attending Bartlett High School and offers a “creative space for students to put their visions together,” according to Cail Hubert, a production instructor with the Story Knife program.

When you walk into the room, you see a variety of things going on at once. Some students sit and laugh together in a comfortable corner, while another sits at a table, going through camera settings as they prepare to walk the Bartlett campus learning manual photography. One student is working on matching sound to their video, while yet another is sorting through video footage and occasionally putting on headphones to offer their opinion on the sound match to the other student. Each student, pursuing their interests as a team and as an individual.

A student edits video in the Story Knife classroom

Offering Resources, Tools, and Opportunity

The Story Knife program also provides a variety of equipment geared towards arming students with the most up-to-date knowledge and resources. From cameras to computers, and even gimbals and drones, students can learn by doing and receive guidance throughout their learning process from knowledgeable CITC staff.

 “Our hope is that kids will come with a passion project and a passion for their story and that Story Knife can help them tell that story,” Cail said.

While it is currently an after-school program, Story Knife also opens its classroom doors during student lunch hours. The program provides snacks and drinks for students and offers a quiet and comforting space to relax, hang out with friends and program mentors. Here, students also have time to work on their current projects.

Students have access to lights, gimbals, multiple types of camera gear, microphones, and the resources to learn how to use each of these tools

The program is already looking to expand its potential through partnership opportunities for participants. Story Knife students attended the 2022 Native Youth Olympics and provided video interviews; meanwhile, program instructors are looking to partner with a social media and video campaign for another CITC youth program, and there are plans to introduce these young storytellers to community mentors who may be able to help them pursue goals within the film, photography, and graphic design industries.

Students work together on a project

Looking Into the Future

As the program continues to grow, the team at Bartlett High School said that they hope to soon expand the program throughout the Anchorage School District.

They have also hired a language arts teacher to work with the program and hope to partner with Iligsavik College to offer students college credits for participating. The goal is to have students learn about the process of writing and sharing stories, then head to the Story Knife program to make those stories come to life through their preferred medium.

 “We aim to give students the opportunities to achieve their endless potential through this program,” Cail said.

To view some of the Story Knife students’ recent work, be sure to check out their NYO video recap and their story highlighting their process of making LED dance fans. Learn more about CITC education programs.

Students work together on a project