Florida Students Win Prize in C-SPAN Video Documentary Competition

Student changemakers nationwide tackle topics that are important to them

Students from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and Miami, Florida are honorable mention prize winners in C-SPAN’s national 2023 StudentCam competition and will receive $250 for their submissions. Anna Dumitrascu, Vailoces Miller and Caroline Van Essendelft, students at Alice B. Landrum Middle School in Ponte Vedra Beach won for their documentary “Memorializing Black History,” about federal funding to help preserve civil rights history. Anthony Rodriguez, Maria Mazzotti and Logan Rosa, students at South Miami Middle Community School in Miami won for their documentary “Climate Change.”

C-SPAN, in cooperation with its cable television partners, asked middle and high school students to engage in a national conversation on the challenges our country is facing with the theme: “If you were a newly elected member of Congress, which issue would be your first priority and why?”

Now in its 19th year, this project-based learning experience gives students the opportunity to explore multiple perspectives on topics that are important to them and consider solutions to address them. In response, nearly 3,000 students participated, and C-SPAN received over 1,500 entries from 40 states, Washington, D.C. and Abu Dhabi. The most popular topics addressed were:

  • Health Care (16%)
  • Environment (14%)
  • Education (12%)
  • Economy (10%)
  • Gun Violence and Firearm Policy (8%)

“For the first time in the history of the competition, we asked students to envision themselves in a position of power, as newly elected members of Congress,” said Craig McAndrew, director of C-SPAN Education Relations. “As each participant considered which issue would be their first priority and why, they creatively wove detailed research with expert interviews and proposed actions to address their concerns. Capitalizing on the platform of short film, these passionate young people masterfully showcased the fruits of active learning, and we are excited to share their work with the country.”

C-SPAN is funded by America’s cable television companies, who also support StudentCam. In Miami and In Ponte Vedra Beach, C-SPAN is available locally through Comcast.

“Comcast is proud to continue the long tradition of partnering with C-SPAN to encourage middle and high school students to be involved and engaged in the political process by participating in the StudentCam competition,” said Bill Ferry, Senior Director of External Affairs and Community Impact for Comcast in North Florida. “Congratulations to Anna, Caroline, and Vailoces on the hard work and creativity it took to produce this award-winning documentary.”

“Comcast is thrilled to honor our local winners in the 2023 StudentCam competition,” said Marta Casas-Celaya, Director of External Affairs and Community Impact for Comcast in Miami. “It is inspiring to hear young voices tackle such an important issue in a creative and thoughtful way. We offer our heartfelt congratulations to Anthony, Logan, and Maria on this outstanding achievement.”

More than 300 students from across the country are winning a total of $100,000. C-SPAN is awarding one grand prize, 4 first prizes, 16 second prizes, 32 third prizes and 97 honorable mention prizes. The winning videos will receive cash awards of $5,000, $3,000, $1,500, $750 and $250, respectively.

High school students competed on a regional level, with the United States divided into three regions: West, Central and East. Middle school students were judged on a national basis. The grand prize winner was selected nationally among all regions and grade levels.

The 150 winning videos can be viewed at www.studentcam.org and may be used in a broadcast with attribution to C-SPAN.

The annual StudentCam competition is sponsored by the C-SPAN Education Foundation. 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.


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