It's becoming a habit-a pretty exciting one. C-SPAN has announced Daniel Hand High School senior Josh Stokes is the prize winner in C-SPAN's national 2013 StudentCam competition for his video Unemployment in America.
That's grand-prize winner. More than 3,500 students in 44 states and Washington, D.C., sent a total of 1,893 entries to C-SPAN this year-nearly 60 percent more than the number of entries received in 2012. Oh, the 2012 competition? Stokes entered a video in that competition as well. He was selected as one of the third-place winners. He was just warming up.
This year's grand prize discusses unemployment in America. The video opens with shots from upscale Madison neighborhoods and a voice-over from Malcolm Watts: "Welcome to my hometown, Madison, Connecticut." The video moves to downtown Manhattan, with an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent and into an interview with a man who has been unemployed for two years. Until you're unemployed, the man says, you don't realize how systemic it is, how it affects everything in your life. Stokes captures examples of that in his video and interview.
The video also includes interviews with Congressman Jim Himes, Congressman Joe Courtney, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice, and Frank Von Holzhausen, owner of a graphic design firm. The seven-minute video also includes clips from C-SPAN and national news programs.
Scarice, in making the announcement, said there were 75 winning videos, but "there was only one grand-prize winner, Josh Stokes of Daniel Hand High School. We couldn't be happier or more proud of Josh?Josh is a 17-year-old high school senior?He works after school for Outthink Marketing Company in Essex. He has a natural talent and passion for film making and has spent significant time to developing his technique in high school under the tutelage of his teacher, Luke Arsenault."
Every year since 2006, C-SPAN has invited middle school students and high school students to produce a five- to eight-minute documentary on a national issue. This year, students used cameras to answer the question, "What's the most important issue the president should consider in 2013?"
Students worked in teams or as individuals to address a wide range of public policy issues, from bullying to troop withdrawal to the national debt. The most popular topic in 2013 was the economy. Nineteen percent of entries were about economic issues such as unemployment, poverty, and the national debt, followed by education (10 percent) and the environment (eight percent).
"StudentCam proves yearly that students are paying attention to the pressing issues of the day, and right now, that's the economy," said Joanne Wheeler, C-SPAN vice president of education relations. "As the president begins his second term, students took advantage of a great opportunity to send him a public message about what is most important to them, and the winning videos are compelling."
"Because education and youth development are important focus areas for Comcast's community investment initiatives, we are excited to recognize Josh Stokes on his winning documentary in this year's annual C-SPAN StudentCam competition," said Kristen Roberts, regional vice president of public relations and community investment. "We are proud to partner with C-SPAN each year on this competition, which allows students to think creatively about issues that affect their community and nation."
The creators of this year's 75 winning documentaries will share in a total of $50,000 in cash prizes. Each of the winners will be contacted by C-SPAN's Education Department via phone or email with additional details about their prize money.
The top 27 prize-winning videos, including the grand prize, will air on C-SPAN during the month of April. A different winning video will be featured each day, airing at 6:50 a.m.
Videos were evaluated by a panel of educators and C-SPAN representatives based on the thoughtful examination of the competition's theme; quality of expression, inclusion of varying sides of the documentary's topic; and effective incorporation of C-SPAN programming.
Find Stokes's video at www.studentcam.org/winners13.htm.