Originally created 05/13/02

Tech-savvy pupils salute America



Two Harlem Middle School pupils have blended their technical skills and their patriotism in an award-winning multimedia production.

Sean Suggs and Evan Slagle created Heroes for America in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It features pupils from Harlem Middle School and throughout the county and state.

Heroes for America recently won first place in the Technology Literacy competition in the CSRA Regional Education Service Agency's technology fair. Sean also won first place in the technology literacy competition.

From there, the award-winning team took its show to Macon to compete at the Georgia Technology Fair, where Heroes won first place. Sean also placed third in the state in competition with high school students in the Georgia technology literacy category.

"It's not just that they sat down to use the software. They connected all the hardware, which is something most adults couldn't do," said the pupils' technology education teacher, Kelly Hiatt. "I just stood there in amazement and watched them."

To produce the show, the boys used a Pentium 4 desktop computer, a laptop computer, a CD writer, a DVD burner, a scanner, a CD player, a digital camera, printer and editing equipment. Kia's Power Show is the software behind many of the show's special effects, but they also used Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Publisher and several e-mail and Internet programs.

There's more to the show than bells and whistles, though.

"We wanted to show our patriotism in producing the show, and now it's going everywhere," Sean said.

Wherever it is shown, people ask that it be shown at another function, another civic club, another meeting.

Heroes for America was first presented as the invocation at the Georgia Association of Middle School Principals' fall conference, where it received a standing ovation. Ron Barker, of the Georgia Department of Education Technology Education Division, requested the show for the opening ceremonies at the Technology Student Association's annual conference in April.

When it was shown at the Georgia Gymnastics Championships at Patriots Park in December, a military veteran in the audience asked for a copy to show at a veterans' program this month in Washington, D.C.

Sean, 13, is the son of Nancy Yauslin and Dale Suggs. He says he would like to be a computer engineer.

Evan, 13, is the son of Rick and Tracey Slagle. Besides technology, his main interest is baseball.

The project began as a way to document the school's response to the events of Sept. 11 - to show how pupils decorated halls, lockers and even portable buildings in red, white and blue. The project took on a life of its own, however. Other schools in Columbia County began sending in their photos, and schools around the state sent photographs by overnight mail or e-mail.

Those pictures, along with pictures of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, were compiled; transitions, music and narrative were added; and the entire show was burned onto a CD.

"It was done strictly to build patriotism and a connection with the community," Ms. Hiatt said. "Everywhere it is shown, it reaches somebody."

Reach Melissa Hall at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 113, or melhall@augustachronicle.com.