Nineteen Poly High School students earned awards for their self-produced documentaries in the national 2021 C-SPAN StudentCam competition.
StudentCam is an annual video documentary competition that encourages students to think critically about issues that affect our communities and nation. This year, students were asked to produce a short documentary with the theme: "Explore the issue you most want the president and new Congress to address in 2021."
Five freshman students were among the top prize winners. Natalie Canalis and Estele Laguerre won third prize for their documentary, “It’s Time to Change the 13th Amendment,” about prison labor reform. Joining them in the third prize category were Theany Heng, Victoria Heng and Molly Flynn for the documentary, “A Balanced Separation,” about the separation of church and state. Both teams received $750 for their win.
Fourteen students earned the Honorable Mention award and a $250 prize. The student winners include Josephine Gore, Sofia Brys and Jocelyn Hebish for “Controlling Forest Fires, Controlling Our Future;” Sasha Johnson for “Conspiracy Theories and their Effect on Democracy;” Eva Kisska, Lauren Villaverde and Lana Missios for “The Period Problem;” Taylor Johnson for “Student Athlete Compensation;” Corryn D'Attaray and Isabella Willett for “Equality for Black Women’s Health;” Maya Randolph for “To Protect and to Serve;” and Tiare Ho-Ching, Kassandra Villegas and Karyss Satele-Pinkney for “Failures in the Foster Care System.”
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia recorded congratulatory video messages for all the student winners. Congressman Alan Lowenthal and State Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell also joined Mayor Garcia in sending congratulatory messages to the third prize winning students.
"With the continual shift in the educational landscape, it is difficult to overstate just how challenging the pandemic has proven for schools across our nation," said Craig McAndrew, Director, C-SPAN Education Relations. "We are so impressed by the resilience and ingenuity of this year's prize-winning students who have delivered among the finest short films in the history of the StudentCam competition."
The Poly students are among a total of 299 winning students from across the country. C-SPAN awarded one grand prize, four first prizes, 16 second prizes, 32 third prizes and 97 honorable mention prizes. Since 2004, C-SPAN has awarded more than $1.2 million dollars in cash prizes to students and teachers.