ROCKSPRINGS — Meigs High School Class of 2002 graduate Evan Shaw kicked off the Meigs Alumni Speaker Series on Wednesday morning, speaking to a gymnasium of MHS students.
Shaw is a documentary producer, editor and videographer at WOUB, as well as a freelance cinematographer for NFL Films.
While Shaw has won nine Emmy awards for his work as a producer, director and other categories, he told the students that it is the Meigs Local Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award that is his most proud achievement.
Shaw lived in Burlingham, played football and was a thrower on the track team while at Meigs and earned the title of having the most school spirit as a senior.
Like many of those in the gym on Wednesday morning, Shaw was not sure what he wanted to do after high school — that was until he took a video production class his junior year what was taught by Suzanne Bentz. After that, Shaw decided that was something he wanted to do.
As a video production student at Ohio University, Shaw spent the first two years not doing much with his major and considered changing it.
That changed at the start of his junior year of college when his roommate suggested the Gridiron Glory program at WOUB. It was after shooting the first game and seeing his footage on television that he was hooked.
“There is nothing cooler than seeing something you do on TV,” Shaw said.
When it came time for an internship, Shaw decided to apply for one at NFL Films, but nearly missed the deadline.
Thinking he had until the end of March to apply, Shaw realized at 2:45 p.m. on March 1 that the application material was due by 5 p.m. that day.
Shaw told the students that he could have given up at that point, or decided not to apply, but he put a video reel together, along with a resume, cover letter and other material with just minutes to spare.
In the end, Shaw got the internship and upon showing up in New Jersey to begin the internship, he realized that those there came from different backgrounds. While Shaw may not have come from the background of the others, he came with a work ethic he had learned at Meigs High School.
Determined that no one would work harder, Shaw put in the work, which allowed him to be selected to go on additional shoots.
He recalled a day in 2006 when he was at the Philadelphia Eagles practice when he was on the same field as fellow MHS graduate Mike Bartrum, who was playing for the Eagles at the time. Shaw said the two did not have a chance to speak that day, but it was inspiring to have two MHS graduates on the NFL field together.
At the end of his internship, Shaw gave a reel to his boss, hoping to receive suggestions for future use. Instead, he was given the opportunity to shoot a game as a tryout with NFL Films.
Shaw said his first game was not good and a few days later got a call from his boss who was “less than pleased.” But, Shaw said he was given a second chance, something that is uncommon — and this time it was successful.
While he was never told why he was given a second chance and has never questioned it, Shaw said he likes to think that it was his work ethic as an intern which earned him the second chance.
In his 11 years with NFL Films, Shaw has filmed every team, been to all but four stadiums and filmed two Super Bowls. He has also been seen in the background multiple times on television, and is in the background of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman’s Twitter profile photo.
Shaw told the students that there are many famous and important people to come from Meigs County, including William Outerbridge, who is credited with firing the first American shot of World War II, and Nelson Story, who built the first skyscrapper in Los Angeles.
“You come from a good stock of people,” Shaw told the students.
He explained that there is nothing that bothers him more than people talking negatively about his family or where he comes from.
Shaw encouraged the students to have pride in where they come from, and while the area may have its problems, there are many positives.
He went on to explain to the students that the positives can come from working together and, although they are still in high school, they can be involved and make a difference.
“Get involved and stay involved,” Shaw said.
He told the students that after they graduate and go on with their lives beyond Meigs High School, they should always remember where they came from and to return and contribute.
Shaw told the Sentinel that the opportunity to come back and speak to the students is something important as the kids are often bombarded with negative things and do not need to hear about the problems.
It is a good place to be from, Shaw said of Meigs County. While he says he does have a cool career, he is not special and had the same opportunities as others from the area and took advantage of those opportunities.
Meigs High School Principal Travis Abbott told students that speakers who are returning to the school where they received their diplomas can show students that their Meigs High School diplomas can be their ticket to anywhere the choose to go.
“They are just like you, come from where you come from and are truly Meigs Marauders, just like you,” Abbott told the students of Shaw and future speakers.
Senior class president Gracie Hoffman, who introduced Shaw, said it was nice to see alumni return to speak and show that “even though you are from here, you can do things.” Hoffman said it was inspiring.
Abbott said he hopes to bring in a speaker twice a year to talk to the students.
When the idea was being discussed a few weeks ago, Abbott thought it would likely be spring before the first speaker could be brought to the school.
Guidance counselor Abby Harris posted on the alumni page with the idea of the speaker and almost immediately Shaw responded that he would be interested. Within 24 hours, a plan was in place to have Shaw speak during the week leading up to homecoming.
“I’m very proud of where I’m from,” said Abbott, who added that the success of alumni is evidence of the amazing things the staff and teachers in the district are doing.
Both Shaw and Abbott said kids and adults alike need to see more positive things in the area and realize the good that is in the area.
Reach Sarah Hawley at 740-992-2155 ext. 2555 or on Twitter @SarahHawleyNews