Madison student's video featured in C-SPAN competition
MADISON, Apr 12, 2012 (New Haven Register - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Daniel Hand High School junior Josh Stokes started making videos when he was young after his mother bought him his first camera, but it was his civics teacher that pushed him to enter the national 2012 C-SPAN StudentCam competition.
"It was either write a paper or do the video, so I decided to do the video," said the 16-year-old Stokes. Now, as the third-place winner in contest, his documentary about the First Amendment will be broadcast on the channel, along with an interview of the student, for the entire country to see. "It feels good, it's exciting," he said.
The StudentCam competition, in its eighth year, received a record 1,203 video entries this year from middle school and high school students across the country on the topic of the Constitution. Stokes is one of 16 third-prize winners nationally, and the only top prize winner in Connecticut.
Stokes said that he decided to make his documentary about the First Amendment because of its relevance to the American public.
"I didn't really know that much about it before," he said. "I talked to a lot of people and I kind of got a wider view of what the First Amendment was all about." For the video, Stokes interviewed people in the community that represent the freedoms in the First Amendment, a part of the Bill of Rights that includes freedom of speech, assembly, religion and the press.
Stokes spoke with local religious leaders, state Sen. Ed Meyer, D-Guilford, and New Haven Register reporter Alex Sanders, as well as protesters involved with the Occupy New Haven movement. "One of the ladies from Occupy New Haven talked about how what they're doing on the Green is all about the First Amendment, with the freedom of speech and assembly," he said.
It took Stokes about two weeks to produce, shoot and edit the 7-minute documentary. Stokes has experience working with video production through his job at the local public access channel and through his class work. When he was a freshman, Stokes took an introductory video production class at Daniel Hand and was hooked. He credits the resources available at the high school with helping him develop his skills.
"They have a really nice studio," he said. "It definitely has [helped me], I go there just about every day." Stokes also makes videos for fun, using his friends as actors in a variety of projects, the most recent of which is a scary movie.
"I'm always making videos," he said. "This was my only documentary though. I actually liked it, so I might make some more. I like being able to come up with a storyboard in my head and then have it all come together. It's really satisfying to see your work all finished."
The StudentCam competition is sponsored by the C-SPAN Education Foundation, and entries were judged by a panel of educators and C-SPAN representatives. Other winning video topics included the 26th Amendment, which involves voting rights for 18-year-olds, and Article 1, which establishes the structures and powers of Congress.
The 148 winning students shared a total of $50,000 in prizes and will have their videos aired on C-SPAN. "The First Amendment" will air at 6:15 a.m. on Thursday followed by an interview with Stokes at 9:15 during the "Washington Journal" program.
Stokes' video can also be viewed online here. For more information about the C-SPAN StudentCam competition, visit www.studentcam.org.
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