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Knoxville Students Win Prizes in C-Span's Video Documentary Competition

WASHINGTON (March 9, 2016) – C-SPAN today announced that students at Hardin Valley Academy in Knoxville, Tenn., are winners in C-SPAN’s national 2016 StudentCam competition.
Sophia LaSorsa and Mikaela Chavis, sophomores, have won Third Prize and will receive $750 for their documentary, "Racial Injustice."
Simon Jolly, Drew Freshour, and Jake Brown, sophomores, have won Honorable Mention and will receive $250 for their documentary, "How Will America Power Tomorrow?" about clean energy.
Ryan Hart, Tarver Nicely, and Seth Maxwell, sophomores, have won Honorable Mention and will receive $250 for their documentary, "Saving our Skies: America's Air Pollution Problem."
Megan Cox, Bryce Stiles, and Abigail Bradfield, sophomores, have won Honorable Mention and will receive $250 for their documentary, "Climate Change: Debatable."
The national competition, now in its 12th year, invites middle school (grades 6-8) and high school students (grades 9-12) to produce a five-to-seven minute documentary on a national policy issue.
This year, students used video cameras to address the theme, “Road to the White House: what's the issue YOU most want candidates to discuss during the 2016 presidential campaign?” In response, C-SPAN received a record 2,887 video submissions from almost 6,000 students in 45 states and Washington, DC.
“With the presidential campaign in the forefront of people's minds, we wanted to hear from students across the country about the issues that matter to them," said Craig McAndrew, C-SPAN's Manager of Education Relations. "StudentCam provides these young people, many of whom are too young to vote, with a platform to express their opinions and have their voices heard."
The most popular topic chosen by students was the economy. Nineteen percent of entries were about issues affecting the economy such as poverty, homelessness, and minimum wage, followed by equality (13 percent), and education (12 percent).
C-SPAN is funded by America’s cable television companies, which support StudentCam. In Knoxville, C-SPAN is available locally through Comcast.
"Comcast is proud to partner with C-SPAN on their annual StudentCam documentary competition and we congratulate our local winners from Hardin Valley Academy for their national academic achievement," said Russell Byrd, Senior Director of Government Affairs, Comcast. "In the midst of a presidential election year, it is important for students to make their voices heard on the issues that are important to them, their community, and our nation."
These winners are among 332 students from 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.
The 150 winning videos may be viewed at and may be used in a broadcast with attribution to C-SPAN. To schedule an interview with one or more winning students or with C- SPAN education staff, please contact Robin Newton, Media Relations Specialist, at 202.626.8910 or Pam McGorry, Education Programs Specialist, at 202.626.4861.
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.
About C-SPAN Classroom:
C-SPAN Classroom is a free membership service dedicated to supporting educators’ use of C-SPAN programming and websites in their classes or for research. Members of C-SPAN Classroom may access free Timely Teachable Videos and video clips for use in the classroom, as well as lesson plans, handouts and ways to connect with other C-SPAN Classroom members. C-SPAN Classroom has reached more than one million students since its inception in 1987. For more information on C-SPAN Classroom visit the website: http://www.c- or follow on twitter: @CSPAN_Classroom.
About C-SPAN:
Created by the cable TV industry and now in 100 million TV households, C-SPAN programs three public affairs television networks in both SD and HD; C- SPAN Radio, heard in Washington DC and nationwide via XM Satellite Radio; and a video-rich website which hosts the C-SPAN Video Library. Visit for coverage and schedules; like us on Facebook/cspan and follow @cspan on Twitter.
Pam McGorry – 202.626.4861,
Robin Newton – 202.626.8910,