Education Spotlight: McAllen ISD’s KMAC students win national awards


McAllen ISD students in the audio-visual program (known by the call letters KMAC) won multiple awards at the International Student Television Network Conference in late March in Nashville, Tenn. More than 3,500 students competed in more than 30 contests. KMAC students competed in 10 contests and placed in four of them.

“This was KMAC’s 15th year attending the contest and it was also our best year yet with results,” KMAC Instructor Rob Garza said. “Most contests had 60 teams or more competing.”

The group of Kevin Cavazos (McAllen High), May Ramirez (McAllen High), John Rodriguez (McAllen Memorial High) and Karla Vargas (McAllen High) took first place in the Crazy 8’s Short Film Contest.

For the Crazy 8 film, students are given eight hours to develop an idea, record and edit a film. They had to follow a prompt; in this case, it was “Stuck On Repeat.”

“Our students decided to do a film on school violence,” Garza said. “They played our first place entry after results were announced. When it finished playing, the auditorium of 3,000 plus students and teachers was completely silent. As our students came down from the stage from receiving the award, the entire auditorium stood up and began clapping, giving our students a standing ovation.”

The first place award for Radio Host went to Sebastian Davila (Rowe High) and Selisa Gutierrez (Rowe).

KMAC’s Music Video took second place. That team included John Rodriguez (Memorial), Michael Pequeno (Memorial), Kevin Cavazos (McAllen High), Carolina Suarez (McAllen High) and Ezra Landeros (McAllen High).

KMAC’s Short Story team took second place. That team included Matt Mandes (Memorial), Acril Acosta (Rowe), Stephanie Rodriguez (Rowe), Sebastian Davila (Rowe) and Nico Hinojosa (McAllen High).