C-Span Student Cam

C-SPAN and Cox Communications have visual proof that the future of professional storytelling is in good hands, and the present is filled with intelligent, creative and vibrant young minds. Many of these talented producers have the potential to make a real difference in the world, and they don’t just reside in Oklahoma. They go to school here, too.

Local students from Jenks and Broken Arrow have earned top prizes in C-SPAN’s exciting and engaging video competition called Student Cam. One look at the production value of these short documentaries would make any viewer assume this is college level material. Impressively, this is not the case. Since 2006, C-SPAN has partnered with local cable affiliates nationwide to provide novice filmmakers at the middle school and high school levels with the opportunity to produce high-quality, professional stories on public policy issues.

“Cox Communications is honored to partner with C-SPAN on their annual documentary contest, StudentCam. We have a long history of winners in our community and we couldn’t be more proud to congratulate this year’s local winners from Jenks and Broken Arrow Public Schools,” said Roger Ramseyer, vice president and market leader for Cox Communications.

Jenks High School senior Micaela Edwards earned $1,500 as a second-place prize winner

This year’s contest encouraged students to answer the question, “Your message to Washington: What is the most urgent issue for the new president and Congress to address in 2017?” Students from Jenks and Broken Arrow rose to the occasion.

Jenks High School senior Micaela Edwards earned $1,500 as a second-place prize winner for her documentary, “Behind the Bite,” which reflected on antibiotic resistance and food labeling.

micaela edwards
c-span screenshot

Exploring all points of view is one requirement for the competition. Edwards features a comprehensive lineup of interview subjects and intelligent, well-written commentary she delivers to connect each perspective. Her creative use of footage and thoughtful editing techniques paint her as more of a mature journalist than a high school student.

“So I guess the question is, what are we eating? Or, better yet, what lies are we being fed?” Edwards confidently but humbly says into the camera.

Edwards not only produces an interesting story, she shows that modern technology and the right outlet can help young creatives think deeply about important subjects outside of the classroom. She even holds up a map in her video and details how far she has traveled to find answers – showcasing that in a digital age, paper maps still exist, and students can be inspired to seek knowledge outside of school when given the proper tools and motivation.


“These young people tackled issues that are important to them, to their community and to our nation after a historic election year,” Ramseyer said. “Education is important to Cox, and we applaud C-SPAN as they continue to offer educational opportunities and an outlet for young leaders to voice their opinions.”

This year, C-SPAN received a record 2,903 video submissions from more than 5,600 students in 46 states and Washington, D.C. Among the 321 winners were more students from Jenks and Broken Arrow.

Jenks senior Ethan Dennis was a third-place winner for his story, “Worth the Cost.” Dennis highlights the importance of funding for the arts in education. He mindfully opens his story by quickly showcasing how his own education has crafted him into a talented storyteller.

Dennis earned $750 for his success, along with senior Taylor Millican, senior Frank Muller and sophomores Matthew Murrie and Max Trost, who each received third-place awards for their documentaries. Individuals or teams with a maximum of three students are permitted to work together on their submissions.

Millican’s video, “A Stacked Deck,” explores the topic of criminal justice reform. Muller’s story, “Up Against a Brick Wall,” discusses veterans’ healthcare. Murrie and Trost worked together to produce, “Why Go Back When You Can Frack?”

Through the efforts of C-SPAN and Cox Communications, students can take pride in their work

Broken Arrow seniors Hannah Green and Maria Franceschina earned honorable mention and $250 for their documentary, “Dear Mr. President…,” which focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis. Another winning honorable mention duo was from Jenks. Seniors Marisa Wojtalewicz and Mia Nysveen were recognized for their documentary, “Dear Poverty.”

Other students earning honorable mention from Jenks were Madeleine Bonnallie and Madeleine Dorst, who produced a story on racial reconciliation called, “Color Me Frustrated.” Jackson Cropper’s “Food Insecurity in America,” Jonathon Godfrey’s “GMO: The Right to Choose,” Madison Hines’ “Bee Movie Without the Bees,” and Sara Nell’s “The Family’s View” all earned honorable mention recognition too.

Through the efforts of C-SPAN and Cox Communications, students can take pride in their work and look forward to a successful future in any field as college and career-ready go-getters.