Lawrence High School junior Arjun Agarwal and former Lawrence High student John Weaver will receive $750 as third prize winners in this year’s C-SPAN national 2020 StudentCam competition.
The duo earned recognition for their documentary, “Fighting Corporate Confusion and Corruption: A Vision for a Cleaner Future.”
Each year since 2006, C-SPAN has partnered with local cable television providers in communities nationwide to invite middle and high school students to produce short documentaries about a subject of national importance. This year students addressed the theme, “What’s Your Vision in 2020? Explore the issue you most want presidential candidates to address during the campaign.”
Agarwal and Weaver are among the 330 students from across the country winning a total of $100,000. C-SPAN awarded one grand prize, 4 first prizes, 16 second prizes, 32 third prize winners and 97 honorable mention prizes. This year marks the 16th year of the StudentCam competition, which has awarded over $1,000,000 in prizes.
Nearly 5,400 students participated, from 44 states and Washington. C-SPAN received over 2,500 submissions on a variety of topics. The most popular topics addressed were:
Environment (18%): climate change, Green New Deal, pollution and plastics
Equality/Discrimination (15%): prison rights, Affirmative Action, veterans’ rights, human rights
Guns (13%): gun control, mass shootings, Second Amendment, gun safety
Health Care (12%): universal health care, mental health, addictions, vaping
Immigration (9%): border security, undocumented immigration, separation of families, DACA
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 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.
“StudentCam provides a platform for young people to have their voices heard on the issues they are clearly passionate about,” said C-SPAN’s director of education relations, Craig McAndrew, in a media release. “This year’s entries reflect remarkable research and production values and feature a wide range of interviews with elected officials and experts. The life skills students learn from this experience will carry them forward in their academic, personal and professional lives.”
C-SPAN is funded by America’s cable television companies, who also support StudentCam.
C-SPAN Classroom is the network’s free membership service that works with C-SPAN’s programs on public affairs, coverage of Congress, non-fiction books and American history to create free resources for teachers, students and the public to use in classrooms, projects or for research. C-SPAN Classroom’s website provides social studies teachers with access to thousands of free resources, including short current events videos, Lesson Plans and Bell Ringers, plus Constitution Clips and On This Day in History events.