The journey Omar Delgado has taken to become an award-winning high school journalism teacher serves as great advice for new media and journalism teachers. His story is very interesting and shows that a passion for technology and video production can lead to a rewarding teaching career and help students develop into video professionals.
Omar Delgado’s Teaching Journey
Omar Delgado teaches Journalism and Editing at Christopher Columbus High School, a private Marist-based school in Miami, FL. Not only does he teach at CCHS, but Omar graduated from the all-boys school in 1998, so his affiliation with the school has deep personal roots.
After high school, Omar received a Bachelor of Science degree in History from the Florida International University in 2003. But after college, Omar found his passion was not history, it was technology – specifically Apple & Mac devices and applications. He turned that passion into a videography business called Delgado Video Productions, which ultimately led him back to CCHS. Omar was joined in the business by Christina Insua. Years later, after Omar started his teaching career, he went back to school and earned a Masters’s Degree in Educational Technology from Nova Southeastern University.
How it All Started – CCNN Live
In the early days, journalism and film were not part of the official curriculum at CCHS, it was offered as a club called CCNN Live. At the time, Omar was CCHS’s assistant basketball coach. When the original club founder of CCNN Live retired, Omar was approached by the school principal who asked if Omar would take over the club. Omar agreed with one stipulation, and that was he wanted Christina Insua to also be involved. The media club had grown in popularity and was being supported by the CCHS alumni. The club focused on location-based shoots where students would interview business owners and officials, creating the CCNN Live broadcasts. “We have a very strong and active alumni network, commented Omar. “With their financial support and backing, CCHS built a state-of-the-art video production facility which helped make the program even more popular.”
Because of the club’s popularity and new facility, CCHS began offering Journalism as a class, and now offers Journalism 1, 2, and 3, TV/Film Production, and several other media-focused courses. “Our school is now highly regarded as one of the best media and journalism schools in the country,” commented Omar. Christina is still with CCHS and teaches Journalism 1,2 & 3, while Omar teaches Editing and TV/Film and advises CCNN Live. In total, CCHS has 4 media and journalism teachers with 75 students enrolled across all courses. “We concentrate on storytelling and teach through a hands-on approach,” said Omar. “We ask the students to go shoot, interview, etc. and then we teach through the editing and production process. Our students produce great work, this year alone we have 25 NATAS student productions award nominations.” CCHS students are very successful post-graduation, just some of their positions include careers at Politico, the Kansas City Chiefs, local news organizations, ad agencies, and more.
Things Really Got Rolling When…
Omar said things really got rolling when he joined the Florida Scholastic Press Association and the Student Television Network (STN). “We attended our first STN convention in 2014 and once the kids saw that they were hooked,” exclaimed Omar. “Competition motivates our kids like crazy! We won our first Crazy 8 STN National Championship in 2015 and won again in 2016 and 2019. In addition, we have won 3 National Championships. The school totally buys into our media program, and treats us like champions, just like our sports teams. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Teaching During Covid-19
Things have not always been easy for CCHS and Omar. Due to Covid-19, the school was completely closed at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year and then went to a hybrid model about mid-year. “The school closing was my biggest challenge ever,” commented Omar. “I really like being in front of the students. We used Zoom meetings, but getting students to engage and commit was difficult. Christina and I joked that we were becoming professional naggers, always nagging the students to turn in work and complete assignments.”
Omar’s Advice for New Media and Journalism Teachers
Omar’s advice to new media and journalism teachers. Join the associations for media and journalism in your state and join STN. “These associations provided me with comfort knowing I was not going it alone,” said Omar. “They offer lesson plans, tutorials, resources and act as mentors for beginner media and journalism teachers. I am now mentoring three teachers myself, so I have come full circle with these programs.” Omar also advises staying in continual learning mode. “I am a tech junkie and social media hawk,” said Omar. “I follow several quality news programs and influencers. We get some of our best ideas for new projects by following these sites.”
How Omar Use SchoolTube
Lastly, Omar is also a SchoolTube user. “We created multiple SchoolTube channels within SchoolTube to organize and publish our videos and I am looking forward to using SchoolTube’s privacy option to create a private storage site for student productions before they get published.
Great work Omar! Congratulations on your work, wins, and student success!