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Gainesville Student Wins Prize in C-SPAN Video Documentary Competition

Press release from Cox Communications and C-SPAN

During unprecedented times, students addressed issues of national importance

Today C-SPAN announced that Alex Casanas, a student at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Florida, is an honorable mention winner in C-SPAN’s national 2021 StudentCam competition. Casanas will receive $250 for the documentary, “Nuclear Crimes Against the Navajo,” about The Church Rock uranium spill.

The competition, now in its 17th year, invited all middle and high school students to enter by producing a short documentary. C-SPAN, in cooperation with cable television partners, asked students to join the national conversation on the challenges our country is facing with the theme: “Explore the issue you most want the president and new Congress to address in 2021.”

Despite the unique challenges brought about by COVID-19 this year, more than 2,300 students across the country participated in the contest. C-SPAN received over 1,200 entries from 43 states and Washington, D.C. The most popular topics addressed were: 

  • Health Care (14.9%)
  • Environmental and Energy Policy (14.6%)
  • Equal Rights and Equity (13.5%)
  • Criminal Justice/Policing (7.6%)
  • Education (7.5%)

“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.”

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C-SPAN is funded by America’s cable television companies, who also support StudentCam. In Gainesville, C-SPAN is available locally through Cox. 

“Cox is proud to continue our partnership with C-SPAN on their annual StudentCam competition,” said Aimee Pfannenstiel, Central Florida Market Vice President. “The caliber of work that Alex produced is commendable and we offer our heartfelt congratulations.”

This winner is among 299 students from across the country 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. These 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.

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. 

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