Albert Lea students win prize in C-SPAN video documentary competition

Published 7:36 pm Thursday, March 16, 2023

Kendall Kenis and Whitney Mullenbach, students at Albert Lea High School, are honorable mention prize winners in C-SPAN’s national 2023 StudentCam competition and will receive $250 for the documentary, “Veterans Healthcare.”

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%)

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“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 Albert Lea, C-SPAN is available locally through Spectrum.

“At Spectrum, we understand the importance of investing in programs that make a meaningful impact in the communities we serve,” said Adam Falk, Senior Vice President of State Government Affairs for Charter Communications, which operates the Spectrum brand of connectivity services. “By encouraging young adults to explore important issues through video, C-SPAN’s StudentCam competition helps empower future generations to become active and informed citizens. We congratulate these students for the exemplary production skills and the passion and creativity they demonstrated through this year’s winning documentary.”

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.