Kurian places second in C-SPAN contest


Benjamin Kurian, a student at Olentangy Liberty Middle School in Powell, is a 2024 second prize winner in C-SPAN’s 20th annual StudentCam competition and will receive $1,500 for the documentary, “Who Do I Want to Be?” about career education.

This video was also recognized as a “fan favorite” after receiving more than 22,000 votes cast by the public between March 3-10. Kurian will receive an additional $500 in prize money. This documentary will air on C-SPAN on April 13 at 6:50 a.m. and throughout the day.

C-SPAN, in cooperation with its cable television partners, asked middle and high school students to address the theme of looking forward while considering the past through one of the following prompts:

• In the next 20 years, what is the most important change that you would like to see in America?

• Over the past 20 years, what has been the most important change in America?

Now in its 20th year, this project-based learning experience gives students the opportunity to explore multiple perspectives on topics that are important to them. In response, over 3,200 students participated, and C-SPAN received over 1,600 entries from 42 states and Washington, D.C.

The most popular topics addressed were:

• Artificial Intelligence, technology, and social media (18%)

• Abortion, health care, and mental health (17%)

• Climate, energy and land use, and pollution (13%)

• School safety, gun policy, and criminal justice (11%)

• Economy, school funding, and homelessness (8%)

“In recognition of the 20th anniversary of C-SPAN’s StudentCam competition, this year we asked students to either look 20 years into the future or to reflect on a topic of importance to them and its past,” said Craig McAndrew, director of C-SPAN education relations. “Students have skillfully blended their perspectives with in-depth research and an array of expert interviews, and we are thrilled to share their accomplishments with their local communities, and the nation.”

C-SPAN is funded by America’s cable television companies, who also support StudentCam. In Powell, C-SPAN is available locally through Spectrum.

“For two decades, StudentCam has provided a platform for students across the country to share their voice on issues important to them and their communities,” said Adam Falk, senior vice president of state government affairs for Spectrum. “Like this year’s winning students, Spectrum is committed to strengthening the cities and towns where we live and work, and we congratulate Benjamin on his outstanding achievement in C-SPAN’s 2024 StudentCam competition.”

In honor of the 20th year of the competition, C-SPAN is gifting educators an additional $50,000 for a total of $150,000 in student and teacher cash prizes and awards. More than 300 students and 200 teachers from across the country are winning participants. C-SPAN is awarding one grand prize, four first prizes, 16 second prizes, 32 third prizes, and 97 honorable mention prizes. The winning videos will receive cash awards of $5,000, $3,000, $1,500, $750, and $250, respectively.

Over the course of two decades, C-SPAN has awarded more than $1.5 million in prizes. Since 2004, over 63,000 students and 20,000 teachers have participated in the competition. StudentCam has been a catalyst for inspiring young minds to think critically about issues that are important to them and has empowered them with the tools they need to become informed, civically engaged citizens.

High school students competed regionally in one of 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 StudentCam 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.

Submitted by C-SPAN.

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