Sam Klonke, middle, with his Royal Oak Schools co-op supervisor, Jaret Grisamer, left, and his film production teacher, Mike Conrad, right, attends the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences award ceremony April 28.

Sam Klonke, middle, with his Royal Oak Schools co-op supervisor, Jaret Grisamer, left, and his film production teacher, Mike Conrad, right, attends the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences award ceremony April 28.

Photo provided by Amy Murphy

Royal Oak high school student wins Michigan Emmy award

By: Taylor Christensen | Royal Oak Review | Published May 8, 2024


ROYAL OAK — Royal Oak High School student Sam Klonke has won an award in the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Michigan Emmys student production competition.

Klonke came out of the competition with a first-place win in the category of Sports Story or Segment for his movie called “The Woodward Showdown.”

Klonke is proud of his accomplishment and excited to have some recognition of both his name and video production abilities.

“It feels really good to win the Michigan Student Production Award. I didn’t really expect it when I was working on it, but I was very proud of the video and hoped to get some recognition from getting it out there in the public,” he said.

His movie documents the fierce rivalry between the Royal Oak Ravens and Berkley Bears during the football season.

Royal Oak Schools Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick recognizes the effort and dedication Klonke has for video production.

“We have so many talented students in Royal Oak Schools, and I’m thrilled that Sam’s piece is receiving this prestigious award,” she said. “We are very proud of his accomplishments, and we know this is just the first of many special things coming his way as he seeks an education and future profession in communications.”

Two videos produced by two different students were submitted for the 2024 competition. One was Klonke’s video, and the other was previous 2023 Emmy award-winner Dakota Hendren.

Hendren created a video titled “Drag Queen Story Time is Latest LGBTQ+ Rights Battle,” which was nominated for an Emmy but did not win this year.

Royal Oak Schools Multimedia Specialist Jaret Grisamer is Klonke’s supervisor for his co-op class and thinks that Klonke’s award is well deserved.

“Sam puts a lot of hard work into everything he does,” he said. “I feel great, being there and being a part of Sam’s mentorship in the video production world, but really 99% of the credit goes to him, and 1% goes to me and my comrades.”

Michigan Student Emmy nominees are up against other nominees from high schools across the state of Michigan.

Klonke’s love for video production began when he took his first video class at ROHS his sophomore year. The years following he continued to participate in school video production, helping out with the morning news, broadcasting sports events, and even starting his own podcast.

Being a part of the co-op program, Klonke has a unique opportunity to produce video for ROHS. Essentially, he is doing an internship while in high school.

“I got the opportunity to be a co-op student, media worker, for the school district,” he said. “So I make different highlight videos for sports teams or different student spotlights or different videos related to the school district.”

Klonke’s winning production “The Woodward Showdown,”’ is inspired by a TV show called “Hard Knocks,” a reality sports documentary television series following different football teams.

“I was really wanting to do something behind the scenes for the football team here at the high school,” Klonke said. “So I decided, hey, let’s do a ‘Hard Knocks’ type video for the football team here.”

The idea of a behind-the-scenes video quickly changed when Klonke saw the real interest in the battle between the two teams.

“It kind of turned into more of, wow, this is a huge rivalry,” he said. “Berkley versus Royal Oak, the Woodward Showdown, the battle between Woodward and stuff like that.”

His video includes shots of the big game, practice, and interviews with students and staff. Klonke said he couldn’t do it without the help of his peers and mentors.

Klonke is a member of the football team himself, so he enlisted two fellow senior students to help film practice and the game.

“I just thought of all of the people that helped me work on it,” he said. “My teacher, Mr. (Mike) Conrad; my boss, Jaret; and the two filmers, which are also seniors this year, Maggie Lynch and Joshua Godoy.”

Klonke is looking forward to continuing his broadcasting career at Michigan State University, where he is going to be studying at the School of Journalism.