School News

Alexandria Students Win Prizes in C-Span’s Video Documentary Competition

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Students at TC Williams High School in Alexandria, VA, are winners in C-SPAN’s national 2019 StudentCam competition.

Charlotte Despard and Angelina Hunt will receive $250 as honorable mention winners for their documentary, “Chasing the American Dream: A Nation Built by Diversity.”

Jayson Makori, Karina Solorozano and Benjamin Janusz will receive $250 as honorable mention winners for their documentary, “Pressing for Freedom.”

Each year since 2006, C-SPAN partners with its local cable television providers in communities nationwide to invite middle school students (grades 6-8) and high school students (grades 9-12) to produce short documentaries about a subject of national importance. This year, students addressed the theme, “What does it mean to be American? Choose a constitutional right, national characteristic, or historic event and explain how it defines the American experience.”

In response, a record 6,318 students (a 10 percent increase over 2018) from 48 states and Washington, D.C., participated. The most popular topics among the 2,923 submissions included First Amendment rights (17 percent), equality/discrimination (13 percent) and immigration (9 percent).

“Over the last 15 years, we’ve had the privilege of hearing viewpoints on a wide variety of issues directly from young filmmakers across the country,” said C-SPAN’s Manager of Education Relations Craig McAndrew. “This year, students clearly stepped up their approach to deliver thoughtful and diverse responses to our competition theme, which reflect enormous time and effort put into the research and construction of their documentaries.”

C-SPAN is funded by America’s cable television companies, whom also support StudentCam. In Alexandria, C-SPAN is available locally through Comcast.

“Congratulations to all our local winners on their hard work, creativity and well-deserved recognition,” said Jessica Gappa, Director of Community Impact, Comcast’s Beltway Region. “Comcast is committed to strengthening our communities through educational programs and digital media initiatives, and we are proud to partner with C-SPAN in its mission to encourage students to continue to pursue additional educational opportunities.”

These winners are among the 340 students across the country winning a total of $100,000, including one grand prize winner, four first prize winners, 16 second prize winners, 32 third prize winners and 97 honorable mentions. This year C-SPAN marks its 15th year of the competition and awards its 1 millionth dollar in StudentCam prize money.

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

The annual 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.


Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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