On Wednesday, March 10th, 2023, the 150 C-SPAN StudentCam national student documentary competition winners were announced. Over 3000 documentaries were submitted by students from 43 US states, Kenya, and the UAE. This year, CSPAN asked all student participants to create a short (5-6 minute) video documentary on a topic related to the competition theme, “If you were a newly elected member of Congress, which issue would be your first priority and why? 

Skyline Middle College 12-grade students Jizelle Oliva, Mia Tolentino, & Lori Huang were among the winners. Their documentary, titled “Health is Wealth”  was awarded the Honorable Mention prize, earning the student’s recognition on the CSPAN Student Cam webpage, social media platforms, and a monetary cash prize for their hard work. 

The students began working on their film in October 2022 and submitted their final cut to C-SPAN in January 2023. Skyline Middle College Seniors have participated in the StudentCam competition for three years, beginning in the Fall of 2018. Jizelle, Mia, and Lori are our 3rd group of students to be part of the winning selections.

In response to their victory, I asked the student filmmakers Jizelle, Mia, and Lori  the following question: “What did you learn from participating in this competition?”

Jizelle: “C-SPAN has taught me that you don’t have to be in government or politics to share your voice. With knowledge, we can empower ourselves to start the conversation and recognize issues that threaten our own communities. This documentary has been our small step in becoming the change that we need for generations to come.

Mia: “I am proud to have worked and researched an ongoing topic citizens face daily around ensuring a healthy life for everyone. It is our time to help all generations supplement a safe and affordable healthcare system for all of us before it’s too late.” 

Lori: “It has been a great experience to create a documentary and contribute to an important topic of discussion. Participating in the C-SPAN competition gave me a platform where my voice could be heard and make a difference through our documentary.” For me, as one of the advisors that helped oversee the completion of these documentaries, it has been an exciting experience watching and helping our students do a deep dive into such culturally relevant and critical topics that allowed them to have a voice, a platform and share their view from a young adult perspective.

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