Independent Day School-Corbett Campus Student Wins Bright House Networks StudentCam Competition
Connor LaVoy, an eighth grader at Independent Day School-Corbett Campus, places first in the Tampa Bay area in video documentary competition.
May 15, 2012 (TAMPA, Fla.) – Connor LaVoy, an eighth grader at Independent Day School-Corbett Campus (IDS-CC), has placed first in the Tampa Bay area in the Bright House Networks C-SPAN StudentCam Competition.
A middle school student at IDS-CC, Connor LaVoy earned first place in the Bright House Networks StudentCam Competition. As part of an integrated English and Technology unit, all eighth-graders worked with technology teacher Darina Glover and English teacher Michael J. Vokoun to explore the power of videography to influence others.
Bright House Networks partners with C-SPAN on its annual, national video documentary competition, C-SPAN StudentCam. The competition inspires students to think seriously about issues that affect both local communities and the nation by creating a short video documentary that responds to a specific topic.
This year's topic, "The Constitution and You," required students to select any provision of the U.S. Constitution and create a video illustrating its significance to them.
At IDS-CC, as one of the integrated English and Technology units, all eighth-grade students worked with technology teacher Darina Glover and English teacher Michael J. Vokoun to explore the International Baccalaureate guiding question, "How does the power of videography influence others?'"
Eighth graders spent several months learning about the power of voice in media, the hardware and software tools needed to create and edit videos, proper citations, and persuasive writing to create a video documentary that was three to five minutes in length. Those who wanted to submit a video for competition could produce a documentary that was up to eight minutes in length.
"For the past three years, we have offered students the opportunity to submit their videos to the C-SPAN competition," said Mrs. Glover. "To do so, they have to go above and beyond, agreeing to an additional level of rigorous video editing. It requires a lot of time after school and on weekends to go through their videos with a fine-tooth comb."
This year, 12 IDS-CC students accepted the challenge of preparing their videos to submit to the 2012 C-Span StudentCam National Student Documentary Competition: Allegra Beachy, Matheus Caldeira, Sara Chowdhari, Bobby Kohloff, Jonah Kornberg, Connor LaVoy, Jacob LaVoy, Jeremy Leeds, Sydney Petty, Lumiere Rostick, Daniela Torres, and Allison Wertheim.
"We're always impressed with how strongly students express their feelings and beliefs about various topics through their videos," said Mrs. Glover. The most common themes related to the First Amendment and Bill of Rights with students focusing on issues such as prayer in school, prohibition, war, discrimination, and other provocative issues.
In addition to submitting to the National C-SPAN competition, all student entries were automatically entered to the Local Bright House Networks Competition. Connor earned first place locally with his video titled, “Absolute Freedom of Speech.” In his video, Connor explores whether the First Amendment gives America "absolute freedom of speech without restrictions" and why some countries place limitations on speech.
"I really enjoyed making the video, and especially doing the editing," said Connor. "And I learned through my research, that we really do have a lot more freedom of speech than in other countries."
With video being such a pervasive medium, Mrs. Glover and Mr. Vokoun say that the collaboration between the two subject areas provides students the opportunity to learn important technology and English skills and then use them in a real-life application.
"Persuasion is a skill, and to use it most effectively, students first need to learn how to tell both sides of an argument," said Mr. Vokoun. "By adding pictures, music, and video to their written argument, the overall effect can become even more powerful. This is why 'Sixty Minutes' and 'Dateline' have been staples of the American media diet for so long, and that is what this project and the CSPAN competition are all about: giving students the opportunity to experience the power of their voice through media."