At the end of a dimly lit corridor in the heart of the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE), a 450-student public high school in Stamford, Conn., a student stares into a camera lens. The wall behind him is plastered with dull green paper ripped from a giant spool in a nearby art classroom.

Two feet away, one of his classmates stoops behind a tripod, barking orders. He fusses with a small handheld camcorder, as a third student stands on a chair in a futile attempt to optimize the overhead lighting.

It might not look like much, say the students--not


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