News and Events

Rapid City and Sioux Falls Students Win Prizes in C-SPAN’s Video Documentary Competition

March 14, 2016 – Sioux Falls, SD: C-SPAN has announced that nine South Dakota students earned honorable mention recognition in a national competition.

  • Cassidy Stratman, Shannon Duffy and Maria Wilson, seniors at St. Thomas More High School in Rapid City, will receive $250 for their documentary Native Lives Matter, which focuses on South Dakota Native American reservations.
  • Erin Bickett, a seventh grader at Patrick Henry Middle School in Sioux Falls, will receive $250 for her documentary College: Expensive Choices Ahead!.
  • Clayton Stokka, Patrick Gaddis and Jayden Bartlett, sixth graders at Edison Middle School in Sioux Falls, will receive $250 for their Should the Government Provide Free or Inexpensive Higher Education? documentary.
  • Else Madsen and Kate McCartney, sixth graders at Edison Middle School in Sioux Falls, will receive $250 for their documentary The 'E' in Education, about equity in education.

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.  C-SPAN is funded by America’s cable television companies, which support StudentCam. In Rapid City and Sioux Falls, C-SPAN is available locally through Midco®.

Presidential Election Theme

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, D.C.

“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."

"Midco proudly partners with C-SPAN on their annual StudentCam documentary competition and congratulates our local winners,” said Dan Nelson, Director of Governmental Affairs at Midco. “Particularly in the midst of a presidential election year, it is important for these students to make their voices heard on the issues that are important to them, their community, and our nation. Education is important to Midco and we are pleased to recognize them locally on their national academic achievement.”

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).

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. View the 150 winning videos online. Videos may be used in a broadcast with attribution to C-SPAN. 

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: www.c-spanclassroom.org 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 www.c-span.org for coverage and schedules; like us on Facebook/cspan and follow @cspan on Twitter.

Media Contact

Paige Pearson Meyer
Director of Community and Media Relations