Issaquah High School students receive C-SPAN prize, special visit
April 8, 2014
By Peter Clark
C-SPAN brought awards and a traveling studio to Issaquah High School students April 4.
Seniors Olivia Marcus and Paige Montague won third prize in the network’s 2014 Studentcam video competition, in which high school students tailor a message to Congress on what they see as the country’s most pressing issue.
The duo submitted a video, “Clean Energy Legislation: A Message to the U.S. Congress,” which was chosen as one of 13 third-place winners from the western United States. They won framed awards and $750.
“We thought it was an important topic,” Marcus said. “The environment and the economy are really important for people from my generation.”
She said she enjoyed working on the video because she has an interest in broadcast journalism.
“I love it,” Marcus said. “This was really good practice for editing a message so people respond to it. It was also good networking experience.”
Upon graduation this spring, she said she plans to attend the University of Southern California and possibly study journalism.
Marcus said she hoped their video educated her fellow students about the importance of clean energy and also encourage them to take part in the competition.
“I definitely think it’s good exposure,” she said. “If you get involved, you don’t lose anything from trying, and I hope it inspires people to get involved.”
Government and social studies teacher Jeremy Ritzer said he has long used the competition as an assignment for students.
“I’ve participated for the last six or seven years in my AP government classes,” Ritzer said.
He said he thought it lent the students an opportunity to explore issues that affect the country and to reach out to their representatives.
“It fits perfectly with my government class,” Ritzer said. “It allows them the chance to express themselves.”
One representative heard the call and showed up to the early-morning event. State Rep. Chad Magendanz (R-5th, Issaquah) attended the awards ceremony and stayed to watch the video’s screening.
“That’s an amazing accomplishment,” Magendanz said. He served on the Issaquah School Board before entering the House. “We’re proud of them as a community and we want to show we support them.”
He said as a member of the House Technology and Economic Development Committee, he appreciated the video’s topic.
Representatives from C-SPAN arrived to deliver the award in a large bus that also serves as a full studio and education media for the public. Monitors, cameras and equipment inside explain how the network broadcasts public affairs to the country.
“We use this bus to engage the youth,” C-SPAN Marketing Manager Heath Neiderer said. “That’s the whole goal of the bus. The whole point of this vehicle is to inform the public about how you can access C-SPAN.”
Out of 150 winners from this year’s competition, which includes middle school and high school students, the bus will travel to visit 130 of them.
After the screening of Marcus and Montague’s video, classes toured the bus and received additional information about how C-SPAN informs the public and how the contest allows young citizens to make their voices heard.
“Even without having winners, I would still participate,” Ritzer said. “This kind of experience might help kids next year with the idea that they can make an impact.”
Get more information and watch the winning videos at studentcam.org.