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Poly Wins National C-SPAN Contest

Three freshmen in the Poly High School PACE program have won a $5,000 grand prize from C-SPAN for their documentary, “Earth First, Fracking Second.”

Each year since 2006, C-SPAN has invited middle and high school students to produce short documentaries on an issue of national importance.  This year, students used video cameras to answer the question, “What’s the most important issue the U.S. Congress should consider in 2014?”

The winning Poly students – Emma Larson, Michaela Capps and Sarah Highducheck – competed against 4,800 students nationwide who submitted 2,355 documentaries.  Poly economics and government teacher Jeff Montooth gave students the assignment of creating a current events film.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, frees up pockets of oil and natural gas trapped in shale by using injections of water mixed with chemicals.  The students interviewed a representative from Long Beach Gas & Oil and talked to a farmer affected by fracking on his property.  The resulting documentary details the economic benefits of fracking but also calls upon Congress to develop regulations to protect the environment from potential harm.

“StudentCam serves as a yearly reminder that young people are not only passionate about issues of national significance, but their ideas and opinions are also worthy of our consideration,” said Craig McAndrew, C-SPAN Manager of Education Relations.  “The level of critical thought, effort and initiative that students have demonstrated in creating their documentaries is inspiring, and we are thrilled to share this year’s winning videos with both Congress and the public.”

The Poly students’ documentary will air on C-SPAN at 6:50 a.m. E.T. and throughout the day on Monday, April 28.  Created by the cable TV industry, C-SPAN is now in 100 million TV households.  The winning video also can be viewed at studentcam.org/winners14.htm.

One of the winning Poly students, Emma Larson, is the sister of Samantha Larson, a 2006 Poly graduate who became the youngest person to scale the Seven Summits, the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents.

Other Poly students earned honors in this year’s C-SPAN contest, including:

• Sophomore Destin Bigsby, third prize and $750 for his documentary, “Mental Illness in America.”

• Juniors Mara Koval and Asa Mazor-Freedman, third prize and $750 for their documentary, “Polarization: The Looming Downfall of American Politics.”

• Freshmen Nhi Cao and Natalie Pin, honorable mention and $250 for their documentary, “It’s Foster Care."