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Walnut valley Unified School District

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WHS Juniors Win C-SPAN Contest

NEWS                                                                                        Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 880 S. Lemon Avenue
March 16, 2012                                                                        Walnut, CA 91789

Walnut High Students Named Top Winners in C-SPAN Contest

WALNUT, CA--Three Walnut High School juniors have been named top winners a prestigious national youth competition.

Avika Dua, Amanda Ong, and Jeffrey Chen won 3rd Prize in C-SPAN’s 2012 StudentCam competition.

C-SPAN representatives will be at Walnut High School on March 22 to celebrate the achievement during a school-wide assembly at 9 a.m. in the Performing Arts Center.

They will present certificates and show the students’ award-winning video. The C-SPAN Campaign 2012 bus will also be on hand to host brief student tours of the classroom and interactive kiosk areas.

In a record-breaking year, more than 2,000 students from across the country entered 1,200 documentaries in this year’s contest. The 75 winning videos were announced on March 7.

The 2012 theme was the U.S. Constitution.

Walnut’s team of International Baccalaureate (I.B.) students thought this year’s contest would be exciting because they’ve been studying the Constitution in their advanced level history class.

“We love history and just decided to go for it!” said Avika. The project will also serve as a community service component for their IB Diploma.

The students chose the 26th Amendment, which gives 18-year olds the right to vote, for their eight-minute documentary

They titled their project “Our Vote, Our Voice” because they believe that youth are the next generation of leaders.

Our main message was about educating the young voters that they have a duty to vote, Amanda explained.

“When you vote, you’re expressing what you want from the government. You’re exercising your voice and your being heard,” she said.

The contest theme was to choose an amendment that was important to you, Avika said.

“We wanted to make our message relevant to youth so they could actually feel it,” she said. The group also picked their topic because 2012 is an election year.

“The youth vote in the previous election had a big impact and we thought it would be interesting,” she said.

The team viewed several previous competition videos for inspiration and format.

“We thought of our own ideas and how we could approach our topic,” Jeffrey said.

The “Our Vote, Our Voice” video opened with about a dozen clips of Walnut students saying “I Voted” holding the simple handwritten message.

It included first-hand interviews with Tim Shaw, Mayor of La Habra, WHS 2011 graduate Andrew Rodriguez now a political science major at Rutgers University, and incorporated C-SPAN footage.

The documentary closed with flashes of students saying, “I Care” holding signs with the new message.

The video closed with the following voiceover message: ”Just one young person casting one vote on one measure in congress is enough to drive forth legislature that will directly impact the issues we care about. We are the future of America. Our vote, our voice matters.”

The dedicated team met at Amanda’s house after school for four days “working non-stop” editing their project in order to meet the deadline.

They cut about forty minutes of footage into the 8-minute documentary, Jeffrey said.

“There was so much information!” he said. Luckily he is has several years of film and editing experience.

“We are so proud!” Avika said about the final project. “When we were done, we watched it over and over and couldn’t believe we had actually created it.”

Jeffrey was the first to receive word from a C-SPAN representative and he was surprised to say the least.

“I was speechless!” Then he ran through the campus to find his teammates and share the news.

“We all just started screaming!” Amanda said. The group will split the $750 cash award.

The Walnut students are among 148 students from across the country that are sharing a total of $50,000 in prizes, including one grand prize winner, two first prize winners, eight second prize winners, 16 third prize winners, and 48 honorable mentions.

The winning videos may be viewed at

C-SPAN is funded by America’s cable companies, which support this contest. Charter Communications will air an interview on Monday April 2.

The C-SPAN Education Foundation sponsors StudentCam. The documentaries were judged by a panel of educators and C-SPAN representatives, and were evaluated 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.

Walnut High School students Amanda Ong, Jeffrey Chen, and Avika Dua celebrate their 3rd Place award in the 2012 C-SPAN StudentCam Contest.