By Beth David, Editor
Bethany Fernandes, a Fairhaven High School graduate, received a national award for a project she created while at FHS.
The National Student Production Awards, also known as the “Student Emmys,” were announced on October 4. Ms. Fernandes is now at Quinnipiac University majoring in Film, Television and Media Arts, and minoring in Management. She said she thinks she wants to work in television, but that could change.
Meanwhile, she is very excited about her win. She received a regional award, the New England Student Emmy, in April for the same project, a video essay titled Close to 190,000.
The project is a news story that follows the hard work of Marc Robillard of 35 Gellette Road. The address is famous in these parts for its elaborate Christmas light display.
Ms. Fernandes said she is from Acushnet, so she did not know about the display until her junior year. She decided that she wanted to follow him through the whole process of setting up the elaborate decorations. The title comes from something he says in the video, that he uses close to 190,000 lights.
“I thought it was an incredible news story that needs to be told,” said Ms. Fernandes.
She contacted Mr. Robillard, first leaving a letter of introduction with his mother, hand delivered to the house.
They exchanged cell phone numbers and the texting began, in September. He would tell her what he was doing that day and she would go to record it.
“I would go after school, I would go after drama club,” said Ms. Fernandes.
Along the way she learned how to network, and how to be a professional. She said he was just a citizen, not a teacher, so she was on her own as to how to proceed.
“It taught me professionalism,” she said. “And it taught me dedication, because it was freezing in December, and my hands were so cold I couldn’t even change the focus.”
She made sure she contacted him when it won the award.
“He was impressed for sure,” she said. “When I told him we had won a regional Emmy, he was blown away. When I told him we won a national Emmy, he thought it was great.”
“I was very impressed,” said Mr. Robillard. “She did such an amazing job. She did the town good.”
He said he did not even know she was in the running for an award until she called to say she had won.
“I thought that was amazing. It was wonderful,” said Mr. Robillard.
He puts a lot of time and effort into the display, so the more people who enjoy it, the betters.
This year, he hopes that Santa Clause will be able to visit again: The weekend before Christmas, of course, because he’ll be busy on the 25th.
Last year, they had popcorn and hot chocolate, and a food drive, too. He hopes to do the same this year.
Ms. Fernandes does not have the new award in hand yet, but she will be coming home from college soon and will, hopefully, get it then. It will look good with the others in her growing collection.
To view the video, visit www.vimeo.com/bethanyfernandes
Click to download the entire 10/20/16 issue: 10-20-16-halloweentrail