9 Nov 2015

A School Focusing On Outdoors, Social Learning and Academic?

It is with great pleasure that I host this guest blog from a very talented student at Rural Campus this year. Enjoy learning about his Journey to create this amazing documentary...
A School Focusing On Outdoors, Social Learning and Academic?
Written by Paolo Aquino
Dilworth Rural Campus - Te Haerenga,  has since been adapted to become a school, which aims to utilise the natural, rural environment and the outdoors to enhance the learning of 14 year old boys.

As part of my Community Project, I have produced a 13 minute documentary examining life inside Te Haerenga.

My Journey
At first, I didn’t know anything about film-making, photography, documentaries or even turning on a DSLR. All I knew was, I loved watching K-dramas and wanted to try make people feel entertained with the film I have produced then. I knew this was a massive project for me, and knew I just had to do it.
I got in contact with the Armagh housemaster in Senior Campus, and planned to interview the Yr. 10 - 12 Rural Campus old boys. That was my first challenge, how can I successfully interview students older than me that I have never seen before? I had to become confident and resilient in every way, make sure I was prepared for anything to come.
I got everything ready, and halfway to Senior Campus. I check my bag for the 100th time just to make sure I didn’t forget anything. And there it was, a lonely space where my questions should have been. I now know I had to improvise. Just when everything was going horrible, my tripod’s screws came undone. To this day, I still don’t know what happened, but they just planned to screw me over. Headed my way to the Tech room and got help from a teacher there. I was rest assured  as I thought of one of the many quotes I ponder on times like this,
“ it’s not over until it’s over. “
Mr. Reeder, the housemaster I got in contact with. He forgot about my intent of me coming up to SC when I came up to him. Why do these things happen to me. I had to embarrassingly explain, and he pulled out some boys, and I started. I had questions like, ‘ what was the most challenging time for you during Te Haerenga and how did you get through it? ‘  Since I had no questions to use. I came up with the most useless questions ever. My footage was useless.
It was now time to edit. The challenge now was, how do I edit? I spent most of my weekends and free time trying to learn and I eventually got there. Another obstacle occurred, how do I present the documentary? Would I be the narrator? would I participate in front of the camera? or a window to the world type of film? Another problem. I didn’t know that there was an SD card slot for Mac computers, so I had to charge my camera (50 min) , plug it in through a cord, and export the media from there (20 min) and finally start editing from that time. To this day, I don’t know why I never thought of looking at the side of the Mac.
I pondered for weeks if I should ask if I was able to use my camera during times we weren’t allowed electronics. I finally got the courage during the last few weeks until I was supposed to work on my presentation.
Due to the limited time and my poor time management skills, I was not able to finish the film. This was the first time, I had tried so hard on something, but yet failed. It was really hard for me to recover from this when everyone religiously asked about the release date for the film. When my dad supported me a lot, even buying a tripod when it was financially hard during the time. When my project coach was really proud of me and even boasting about me to other teachers.
I tried again, this was my time. I will fix everything. I started again from scratch. Interview Donegal boys and other filming; check. Editing; check. Upload; check. I was finished. When I released the film, a lot of pressure went off my back. Sure, not everyone is going to like it. It’s my first time doing a project like this. But when I reflect through my process, a lot of things happened to me. I found my passion, my new hobby and who I am through this process. I found out that I’m pretty resilient, I can hold a lot of pressure, and just that my perseverance is really high.
My success criteria for this project is to reach 1000 views so feel free to share and make this happen.  Thank You.

Directed and Produced by Paolo Jan-Rafael Aquino
All shot with Nikon D3200


  1. Wow, I love both the way you write; and the way you present how you see the world. Impressive, keep doing what you're doing :) (Friend of Cam Potter).

    1. Thank you very much! I just try to make the most of this amazing school :)

  2. Amazing video and great insight to your school and journey. I wish more schools would take this holistic approach and have students as active learners. Great work, well done! :D

    1. I love teaching at a school with this approach it is inspiring, especially by the students when they get the space to do things like this!

  3. Riley Melville14 May 2016 at 13:57

    As a year 7 I can't wait to go to rural campus. Thanks

    1. That is great to hear Riley. Looking forward to meeting and hanging out next year too!

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