New Tech student honors grandfather, earns money through energy film

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Published May 1, 2014

By Christine Foster, Journal reporter

Many of us take the energy we use for granted, but for the family of a Belton New Tech High School @ Wascow student, having access to an energy source is critical.
Earlier this year 16-year-old Jonathan Froese, son of Nicol Serna and Jeff Froese, submitted a short film entitled, “Energy Independence” to the TXU Light Up the Red Carpet Student Film Contest, which was held in conjunction with the Dallas Film Society.
Froese’s film consisted of a compassionate project about the impact of energy on his grandfather’s life. The video placed second, for which Froese earned two $1,250 prizes, one for himself and one for New Tech.
“It was a dream,” Froese said about his trip down the red carpet.  “There were professional film makers there who spoke with me and the director of marketing at TXU said my film was unique and creative; that they usually get a lot of music videos. He said mine was not like anything he had seen before.”
The TXU guidelines indicated the entrants were to bring their ideas of electricity to life using any genre. Froese’s inspiration stemmed from seeing his grandfather’s success in life, despite fighting quadriplegia since childhood.
As a young child Froese’s grandfather suffered a crippling bout of muscular dystrophy, but as an adult he became a successful and highly regarded attorney. Since the attack, however, his mobility was based on the power that enabled him to accomplish tasks at home, work and remain mobile.
This, then, became the topic of Froese’s film: a poignant and compassionate look at how this man was able to address and overcome his challenges through the use, primarily, of electricity.
Froese’s video cuts in with haunting music and a shot of the alarm clock going off. The video proceeds through the day focusing on each electronic device as the grandfather needs and uses them. The grandfather’s face is never seen. The film concludes with the grandfather remarking about how positively electricity has affected his life.
New Tech Instructor Robert Pryor said he was proud and impressed with Froese’s creativity with the film.
“He showed the power that electricity has to change a moment or change a life,” Pryor said.
Froese said using a camera to tell a story can be powerful.
“It’s really cool to tell someone’s personal story,” Froese said. “It documents a person’s life and touches the lives of friends and family forever.”
Froese said he is considering attending the Austin Art Institute after he graduates.
Froese’s video can be viewed at