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Espanola High School receives 2009 Fanny and Floy French award

The Fanny and Floy French Improvement of Secondary Teaching Award for 2009 has been awarded to the television production program at Espanola Valley High School.

The award, established 1981, is the most prestigious external award given by New Mexico State University's College of Education. Ralph and Josiah French of Las Cruces founded the award to honor the memory of their aunts, Fannie and Floy French, to encourage research and application of creative ideas for the improvement of secondary teaching.

This year, just less than $5,000 was given to Espanola Valley High School's television production team which emphasizes cultural heritage videos and digital video editing.

Espanola Valley High students in the program participate in three areas: a TV production class, cultural heritage video project and an editing project.

The TV production class gives students the tools and skills to understand and produce media about their lives, cultures and community, and share their ideas, visions and interpretations with the greater public while gaining concrete skills with creative media technology to benefit them in their future education and professions.

The video projects encourage students to develop their knowledge of the different aspects of their culture and share these activities with their community. Each video features youth who are actively involved in some aspect of the Native American and Hispanic cultures of northern New Mexico.

The purpose of the program's editing project is to allow students to work with professional mentors to gain skills in the art of digital video editing.

The high school program began in 1992 and has grown to accommodate 60 students who have produced videos that have won numerous awards. Funds from the French award will be used for honorariums for Espanola youth who plan and produce each video and a mentor who gives editing advice and an additional digital editing system to service the growing number of television students.

Those eligible to compete for the award are educators practicing in secondary schools, central office staff, New Mexico State Department of Education employees and university faculty.

Floy French, born in 1878, worked in library management in New Mexico and later as head librarian at Carnegie Library in Indiana. Fannie French, born in 1883, graduated from New Mexico State University in 1902, organized the first Las Cruces High School and was its first principal. She later became an education teacher at Morton College in Illinois. Both women returned to Las Cruces after they retired.