Our Schools

MISD Students Place in a National Video Competition

Six students from Ben Barber Innovation Academy and Frontier High School placed in the top three for StudentCam, an annual C-SPAN documentary competition.

Students in grades 6-12 were asked to create a five to six minute video documentary on what it means to be American.

“I told them don’t just find something. Make sure it’s something that you believe in,” said Ryan Tuomey, arts and audio/visual teacher at Ben Barber. “All my students hit that note, but there were a couple that stood out that I thought did very well.”

The students competed in groups of three. One group from Ben Barber placed second, receiving a cash prize of $1,500. The other group placed third and received $750.

“They did an amazing job,” said Tuomey. “We’ve done this competition for a few years and each year it gets better and better. They really put thought into it and we tried to make sure the actual message is there and it’s not just coming from a film production aspect. We actually want that message to hit home.”

Jenae Green from C-SPAN awarded the StudentCam winners on April 4 at Ben Barber Invitation Academy and Frontier High School.

“We figured we would do well, but we didn’t think we would do this well,” DJ Elliott, Frontier High School senior. “We’re very proud. It was cool to see that email saying we got third and it was a cool experience.”

When making the documentaries, the students set up interviews to convey the stories they wanted to tell. One team landed an interview with Lupe Valdez, a 2018 democratic nominee for Governor of Texas. The other interviewed the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban.

“Our process was very unconventional to most people,” said Tanner Fenton, Frontier High School senior. “We reached out to many different interviewees and we actually got a response from a politician. That was the biggest surprise that they wanted to talk to us kids.”

The deadline for submissions was on January 20.

“We’d gotten the prompt around the first of December, but the problem is obviously winter break,” said Fenton. “The time constraint hurt, but it also helped because it helped us be efficient and helped us not to sit there and lull around.”

The second place video, “’Til We Reach That Day” will air on C-SPAN throughout the day on April 10.

“I believe that being an American means that you have the opportunity to make a difference,” said Elliott. “You live in a place where if you want to do something, you can go out and have lots of resources available to you to go out a make that possible.”

View the the second place winner, “’Til We Reach That Day” here. You can see the third place video, “America: The Land of Opportunity!” here.