The Chicagoland Television Educators Council (CTEC), originally entitled the Chicagoland Media Educators Network (CMENT), grew out of a need for teachers of media at the high school level to network by sharing ideas, techniques, information and technical knowledge about television curricula and activities.
The organization was formed from some initial Illinois Vocational Television Program meetings held at two local high schools. In the early 1990’s, Lucas Palermo, representing the Columbia College Television Department, and some of the high school faculty who had attended the Vocational Programs, began meeting to form a new network of teachers of media who up to this point felt isolated in their schools or districts. Using Columbia College as an information station, getting together and sharing curricular ideas, textbooks, vendor recommendations, hosting repair workshops and providing insight into the teaching of television, became the cornerstones of the processes that were to follow. As teachers met more formally the organization adopted a set of by-laws, joined a national organization (The Illinois Association for Education Communication and Technology) and elected officials. Dr. Linda Profetto of Bremen High School was elected President with Vice-President Gary Prokes of Riverside-Brookfield High School and Treasurer Charlotte Titcomb from Deerfield High School.
After one year of growth the fledgling organization proposed a video festival for student work, designed to accommodate all television genres, all levels of student work, and all types of high school facilities throughout the Chicagoland area. The First Annual Chicagoland High School Video Festival was held on May 5, 1994.The first event drew 150 entries in seven categories. Attendance at the festival was over 200 students representing twenty-four Chicago area high schools and was held at Columbia College, with the Awards Ceremony held at the Harold Washington Library. Festival activities included the screening of all 150 entries in seven rooms simultaneously, lunch and the Awards Ceremony.The Sixteenth Annual Chicagoland High School Video Festival will be held in April of 2009, boasting over 420 entries, in 16 categories, representing nearly 40 schools, with attendance on the day of festival peeking at just over 400 students.
Today’s festival must be held at a venue large enough to provide screening space for all entries in separate rooms. Currently the festival is held at the Northern Illinois University Conference Center in Hoffman Estates.Judging is handled by Lucas Palermo at Columbia College and calls upon college faculty from Columbia College, Harold Washington College, College of DuPage, Southsuburban College, and Oakton Community College along with working professionals in the Chicago,Milwaukee, Los Angeles, and Portland Television Markets, and the NATAS organization. In 2008 over 70 judges viewed over 1800 minutes of programming.
In addition to the High School Video Festival, the Chicagoland Television Educators Council sponsors networking opportunities via four meetings each school year, held at various member schools, to meet, support and learn. CTEC offers scholarships in the name of one of the founding members from Columbia College, Nadine Sterk, who passed away several years ago. This year five scholarships will be offered, 3 for senior students in the amount of $1000 each and 2 for sophomore/junior level students to attend summer television institutes.
The organization is testimony to the fact that hard work, creative ideas, valuable partnerships and old-fashioned networking can lead to a very visible icon of success.