Luis Jaquez-Arceo—”Ready, Take, Action”—CTE Contest Winner

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At CEC, our motto is Do Something Real, and each day students live this through attending Career and Technical Education (CTE) or for short “career” classes. These courses give them the opportunity to experience working in the real world by gaining the skills they need in the professions that interest them.

February was CTE Month and CEC Middle College of Denver, celebrated by encouraging students to write about what makes their CTE education “real” to them. We had handfuls of great essays, but in the end, we chose five winners and one runner-up.

Over the next two weeks, we will share with you the essays we felt most closely captured the essence of what we do at CEC.

Meet our first winner Luis, who is a student in the Digital Film Production class.


As soon as the lunch bells rings and it’s time to go to our CTE (Career and Technology Education) class, I dash to my Digital Film Production class. I feel excited, as I know that I get to be involved in either shooting a film, or writing. In Digital Film our instructor, Mr. Dominguez, teaches us multiple things that jump from writing skills, execution of a film, how to properly “cut” a film, and, as we progress, he helps us successfully create our productions. I currently just finished my short film called “Not Another Love Story” while actively participating as an actor in other student productions. In this class, I am doing something real for me by having the skills to write a script, improving my writing skills in both English and Spanish, and changing the way I perceive films.

As a returning student, this will be my second semester into this class. I have successfully shown recognition to the high tech items in this classroom like the equipment and computer editing software. In the past, I had only known cameras like digital cameras, but now I know what real filming cameras look like. I am familiar with how to turn on the camera, put in the memory card, place the plate underneath the camera so that it can keep a sturdy hold when sliding the camera onto the sticks, or tripod. Also, I am familiar with shooting protocol, which covers setting up the camera in the right manner and position, and saying “Pictures up, camera rolling, market, action!” In other words, these phrases mean, “Quiet on set, camera is ready, take and action.” Also, I am competent with software like Celtx, and Final Cut Pro. Celtx is the script writing software, that helps with writing down the script in the correct format, as one cannot just open Microsoft Word and start writing a Script. Final Cut Pro is the film editing software that we use after we have shot our film, where we edit and make our films into masterpieces.

A personal challenge I have is that I need to practice writing in Spanish, as it it my first language and a lot of the time I don’t know how to write it. Because it’s used so often in life, I want to be completely fluent and to complete that goal I use this class to get better at my Spanish writing skills. Mr. Dominguez is fluent, and when I write my papers in Spanish, he thoroughly corrects any accent marks missed or anything that didn’t make sense, so it is a great way that I can overcome my own personal goal of not forgetting my first language. This goal being met also shapes my pride in my heritage of being a Mexican-American male.

This class supports the CEC motto to “Do Something Real” because although I do not want to be a filmmaker, this class has greatly improved my writing and technology skills. I would like to become an English Literature major and eventually become an English teacher. Mr. Dominguez insists that after we watch a movie in his class, we have to write an essay based on the theme of the movie. We watch a movie about every month or so, therefore we have to write very frequently. Also at the end of the semester we have an important writing assignment in which we have to write a five-page paper based on a famous filmmaker. Mr. Dominguez really plays a big role as an English teacher as well as a film teacher because he holds me to a very high standard.

Overall, film class is a great experience, and it has impacted a big part of my character. The class, the teacher, and the work are all great factors that allow me to meet personal goals. After being in this class for my second semester I can honestly say I have learned much and it has definitely changed the way I interpret movies, my writing skills in both English and Spanish, and skills in technology.

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