SAMOHI On Santa Monica High School’s Web site, you can find a variety of things, from links to campus clubs to the daily Blue Bulletin.

But this year something different has hit the Web: a new video called “Why Attend Santa Monica High School,” featuring principal Hugo Pedroza.

Throughout the video, Pedroza flaunts Samohi’s excellence in academics, athletics and the arts. He explains that Samohi is wonderful because it is an environment in which anyone can grow. He points out that Samohi ranks in the top 20 percent in the state for academics, top 5 percent for music and top 10 percent for athletics.

The film was made after PTSA chairman Richard McKinnon noticed Samohi needed to connect more with the community.

The intention was to enhance Samohi’s Web site and fix the communication gap.

“Videos are a very powerful way to communicate; and Samohi needed much better communication with the community,” said McKinnon.

His idea was to create multiple stories through videos, or “vidlets,” each approximately one minute long, so that community members could get a better sense of Samohi and it’s many activities, faculty, and events.

Samohi’s Running with Speakers (RWS) created the video prior to the 2008-09 school year. RWS is an on campus club that is in charge of sound at every Samohi event: pep rallies, concerts, assemblies, plays, and more. In addition, they make videos and document all the events they help run.

According to RWS adviser Bill Wishart, the video took two to three weeks to both create and edit. However, uploading the video onto the school’s Web site took a few more months because of technical difficulties with YouTube.

“It was a smooth process …, but it took a long time,” said Wishart.

Wishart asked if any RWS members wanted to help with the video and Samohi junior Geo Zuniga happily volunteered. He worked on the Pedroza video as well as a “vidlet” spotlighting Samohi’s award winning cheer team.

There have been plenty of positive responses to the video on campus.

“I think these videos are an excellent way to highlight Samohi’s top programs,” senior Maddy Scott said. “They give a chance for people outside the school to see what we students see every day.”

“The ‘vidlets’ are awesome,” junior Zac Geoffray said.

However, a few students think the video was made for different reasons. Senior Sophy Cohen guesses that the video was a response to a popular magazine’s omission of Samohi in its list of top 20 Los Angeles area schools.

But despite some speculation, the “Why Attend Santa Monica High School” online success has set a new precedent.

Now, Samohi’s two video classes have incorporated creating “vidlets” in their curriculum. They are working on getting more and more “vidlets” finished to be uploaded onto the Web site. The goal is to create “vidlets” for every Samohi activity, so that viewers can check the Web site and learn about anything through the student-made videos.

Next up — a “vidlet” featuring Pedroza speaking in Spanish. The videos can be found on Samohi’s Web site www.smmusd.org/Samohi.

news@smdp.com