Mentor teaches digital media production to Huntsville youth - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Mentor teaches digital media production to Huntsville youth

Leon Burnette teaches digital media production to Huntsville students. Leon Burnette teaches digital media production to Huntsville students.

A non-profit organization recently partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of North Alabama to empower dozens of low-income youths with the knowledge of digital media production.

A group of students at Lee High School is embracing the program for school but also for future careers that tap into their passions.

Former music manager and media consultant Leon Burnette is the executive director of Huntsville-based MediaArts Institute of Alabama. He and the Boys & Girls Club founded the MediaArts Mentoring Academy, an after-school program for at-risk youth.

"Our relationship is bringing new things and new exposure to new technologies to these students," Burnette said.

Students meet twice a week after school for the program, which qualifies under STEM, or "science, technology, engineering and math" requirements at school.

Burnette said hands-on experience with music recording equipment and video editing programs help get kids excited about learning math and science.

"They say, let me master my fractions so I could understand rhythm and beats and things like that," Burnette said.

And many of Burnette's mentees embrace the idea.

"He helps us out and makes sure we have a clear understanding of what we're doing," Lee High student Shantel Davis said.

Others say they appreciate the exposure to digital media production.

"We're learning a lot from him, about movies and all types of multimedia production and stuff I never knew before," Lee High student Ravyn Caudle said.

After all, Burnette has more than 40 years of experience in the music and entertainment business to pass along.

Lee High School senior Lance Brazelton is listening.

"I've never really heard of a program like this that would give kids an opportunity and usually when you do it's someplace else like in another big city," Brazelton said.

"That's what we're doing here, is showing you that it doesn't matter where you live. You can still succeed. You can still tell your story; you can still live your dreams," Burnette said.

Burnette said the program currently serves about 50 students but he hopes to raise enough for a new facility and help hundreds more.

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