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Student Finds Passion in Filmmaking

November 1, 2010

Brunswick News – Local News

By LINDSEY ADKISON

Ryan Blount appears to be shy and polite 17-year-old. He is also an ambitious filmmaker. Ryan's interests were in art and meteorology, until at age 7, when his father gave him a video camera and the desire to be a director began. He was also drawn in by one particular film. "I had watched 'Independence Day.' They had a whole lot bunch of special effects," Ryan said. "I realized that I could entertain people in that way. That's how it started." Blount, a Brunswick High School student who also attend the Golden Isles Career Academy, has already developed films.. The first was "The Fight," followed by "The Streets of San Andreas." His latest and most popular film is "The Misadventures of Ryan and Neco (MRN)."

"At first, I kept my career to myself. Then people started to find my work on YouTube," he said. "The Misadventures" film starred Ryan and his best friend, Neco Trimmings. It told of how two teenagers could have fun on a boring Saturday afternoon. "Now it's kind of embarrassing to watch," Ryan said. The film was well received by others, and it was followed by two sequels: "MRN: Mystery of the Masked Man" and "MRN: Revelations."

"In the Mystery of the Masked Man, Neco is trying to write an 1,000 word action film about a masked man," he said. "MRN: Revelations," his latest film, was recently screened at the Ritz. It deals with a more scientific theme -- human cloning. "I read something about human cloning," he said. "I started writing the script around December and we finished filming around September." He is happy with the results -- for now, he said. "But as I develop and move further along in my career I might look back and wonder 'what was I doing,'" Ryan said with a laugh.

Ryan will enter the film program at Full Sail University in Orlando, Fla., in the fall of 2011. He plans to absorb as much as he can. Afterward, he hopes to follow in the footsteps of some of his favorite directors, including Martin Scorsese and M. Night Shyamalan. "I'll never stop making films," he said.

When he isn't behind the camera, Ryan is the typical teenager. "I like to draw. That's one of my favorite hobbies," he said. "I like music and to hang out with my friends." He also focuses on giving to others. He's established the Ryan Christopher Blount Scholarship Foundation for gifted students in the area of art and entertainment. The first scholarship will be awarded to a student enrolled at the Golden Isles Career Academy in the class of 2012.

Career Academy Looks Ahead

December 16, 2010

Brunswick News – Local News

By ERIKA CAPEK

With one semester as chief executive officer of Golden Isles Career Academy practically under his belt, Rick Townsend says he better understands the needs of the school and the community.This is the second year the career academy, a charter public school at 4404 Glynco Parkway, is offering career programs to students in grades nine through 12. "I understand the community has set high expectations for the school and its staff, and we're going to meet those expectations," said Townsend, who has been at the job since August. "I'm excited about the future." Townsend is thinking about how to improve the school.

One proposal he's working on is the creation of a foundation board. The main role of the board would be achieving financial goals. It also would be responsible for a scholarship program for post-secondary training for students, service learning and finding ways to fund school competitions. Although board members have yet to be determined, Townsend said he hopes to have the board in place in the next 60 days.

Townsend also would like students at the school to do more service projects. The career academy is now partnered with two groups - Lord of Life Christian Montessori School on St. Simons Island and FaithWorks Ministry in Brunswick - for service learning projects. Townsend said he is working with Wright Culpepper, executive director of FaithWorks, to find ways to match talents of students to needs of the organization. He would like to see the number of service projects tackled by the student body grow. "I'm hoping to start community service projects full-force and get the word out in January," Townsend said. "Giving back to the community is so important. It gives our kids that real world experience in the field." Enrollment is another area of focus for Townsend. The academy has 413 students enrolled first semester. Townsend expects about 400 in the 2011 spring semester. "We've really started beefing up our recruiting efforts," he said.

In January, a career academy fair will be held at the high schools, at which students will receive in-depth information about programs that are offered.

Robotics Team Eyes Top World Ranking

January 26, 2011

Brunswick News – Local News

By ERIKA CAPEK

Golden Isles Career Academy student Zach Bennett thinks his team has what it takes to be one of the top robotics teams in the world.

It just might. At the VEX Round-Up Tournament of Champions at Lowndes High School last week, Zach's team went undefeated in all 10 matches. The win qualified it for the world championship in Orlando. Zach is confident. "I think we stand a chance," he said. Their goal at the world competition, which will be at the ESPN Conference Center at Disney World, is to be one of the top 10 teams. Teams typically have six or seven members, including two "drivers" who control different parts of a robot, such as its drive motors, lift basket and arm. There is also a coach and a support team.

Maddy Guest, a coach and senior at the career academy, said competitions are intense and added that going to the world championship will be a first for her. As coach, she has to pay close attention to what goes on during the competition. "I help them see the bigger picture and what all the other robots are doing," Maddy said. As for the competition, students score points by controlling their robots to pick up as many rings as they can and place them on goals around the game field in two minutes. They can also have the robot climb a ladder for additional points near the end of the time period.

Patrick Gunter, engineering/technology teacher at Golden Isles Career Academy, said he expects more than one career academy team will qualify for the world championship. There will be another qualifying competition at the career academy in February. The career academy has two high school teams and four middle school teams. Gunter said he would like to see two or three middle school teams and the second high school team make it to Orlando. "We're teaching these kids real hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)," Gunter said. "We're involved in that every day." Middle school students on the robotics teams meet after school, while high school students work on their robots during class and sometimes after school. "Right now, we're working on programming," Zach said. "That's our main focus." He said he's looking forward to seeing the different designs of robots at the world competition, which will include 700 to 800 teams.

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    As required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 the Glynn County School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in admission to its programs, services, or activities, in access to them, in treatment of individuals, or in any aspect of their operations. For additional information or referral to the appropriate system coordinator, contact the system superintendent’s office at 1313 Egmont Street, Brunswick, GA. The school district phone number is (912) 267-4100.