RIVERSIDE, Mo. -- Even though television as we know it has been with us for 80 years or so, it continues to enthrall us and keeps drawing young people to it for careers. That's true for the FOX 4 News Young Achiever of the Week. As one of the region's most honored high school broadcast journalism students, Jacob Orlowski is aiming now to tell great stories for TV, the movies and more.
Jacob Orlowski would like nothing better than to spend his life crafting video -- editing TV shows and movies and producing video for the Internet and other media.
"I can just spend forever sitting there at my computer making the story," says Jacob. Jacob has a very good start on that future he wants so much.
For the past two years he was the all-around wizard and multi-talented team leader of teacher Justin Ford's Broadcast Journalism program at Park Hill South High School in Riverside, MO.
"I put him in front of the camera and he excelled at that," says Ford. "I put him behind the camera and he excelled at that. Just anything he put his mind to in the broadcast studio he could do."
Jacob really found his niche behind the camera. He produced and directed South High's daily student-run newscasts and put together award-winning video reports and features for the newscasts and the school district's cable TV channel. He's a techie with an artist's soul and spirit.
"I think Jacob has always embraced anything technical," says Ford. "If it's a computer, if it's software program, if it's a camera with buttons on it, he gets excited and he loves it."
This spring Jacob brought all of his skills together to craft a dramatic and compelling piece for the annual Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge to motivate young people to change dangerous driving behaviors in order to save lives. It was voted the best video in the national competition and earned Jacob a $20,000 grand prize.
"I think winning that contest, it boosted my confidence a lot in myself," says Jacob. "And it just kind of made me realize that I am good at this and this is definitely what I'm meant to do."
For Jacob editing video is all about the story, the emotion. And that, he believes, is what set his teen safe driving video project apart and made it the national winner.
"I want people to feel something," says Jacob about his video storytelling. "I want them to say this is different from any other safe driving thing I've seen before. Maybe I should become a safer driver."
Jacob's own personal story is as fascinating as some of the stories he tells with video. His resume' sparkles with activities, interests and accomplishments in all areas, especially music.
"I like getting up in front of people and showing them my skills in that area," says Jacob.
An outstanding percussionist, Jacob performs regularly in church in a combo with his mother and some friends. And he threw himself into every band at school, from symphonic to jazz to his great musical passion -- drum line.
"It's kind of like the video editing," says Jacob. "Sometimes you can get addicted to it." Jacob will leave music behind for now and concentrate on his other art and love -- creating great stories with great video.
"When I sit back and watch the final product and it can still make me emotional, I know I've got a great video and it makes me really proud of what I can do," says Jacob.
Jacob used part of that $20,000 national grand prize from the Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge to buy a state-of-the-art computer and video editing software. He says he'll use the rest this fall to study at one of the nation's finest film schools, Full Sail University in suburban Orlando, Fla. The school also gave him a $35,000 scholarship.
FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for
Reaching 4 Excellence every Monday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m., every Wednesday on FOX 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on Fox 4 News at 5 p.m.
Phil Witt, Fox 4 News