Troy and Royal Oak Students Win Prizes in C-SPAN Video Documentary Competition

Troy and Royal Oak Students Win Prizes in C-SPAN Video Documentary Competition


“Student changemakers nationwide tackle topics that are important to them.”


C-SPAN recently announced that students in Troy and Royal Oak, Michigan are winners in C-SPAN’s national 2023 StudentCam competition.

Brianna Johnson and Katie Schmidt, students at Troy Athens High School in Troy, will receive $1,500 as second prize winners for the documentary, “Loved to Death,” about overcrowding at national parks. This documentary will air on C-SPAN on April 11 at 6:50 a.m. ET and throughout the day.

Dakota Hendren and Hannah Johnson, students at Royal Oak High School in Royal Oak, will receive $750 as third prize winners for the documentary, “Banned Books: The Effect of Censorship.”

C-SPAN, in cooperation with its cable television partners,

asked middle and high school students to engage in a national conversation on the challenges our country is facing with the theme: “If you were a newly elected member of Congress, which issue would be your first priority and why?

Now in its 19th year, this project-based learning experience gives students the opportunity to explore multiple perspectives on topics that are important to them and consider solutions to address them. In response, nearly 3,000 students participated, and C-SPAN received over 1,500 entries from 40 states, Washington, D.C. and Abu Dhabi. The most popular topics addressed were:

  • Health Care (16%)
  • Environment (14%)
  • Education (12%)
  • Economy (10%)
  • Gun Violence and Firearm Policy (8%)

“For the first time in the history of the competition, we asked students to envision themselves in a position of power, as newly elected members of Congress,” said Craig McAndrew, director of C-SPAN Education Relations. “As each participant considered which issue would be their first priority and why, they creatively wove detailed research with expert interviews and proposed actions to address their concerns. Capitalizing on the platform of short film, these passionate young people masterfully showcased the fruits of active learning, and we are excited to share their work with the country.”

C-SPAN is funded by America’s cable television companies,

who also support StudentCam. In Troy and Royal Oak, C-SPAN is available locally through Comcast.

“Comcast is proud to continue the long tradition of partnering with C-SPAN to get middle and high school students interested and engaged in the political process through StudentCam,” said Michelle Gilbert, Vice President of Public Relations for Comcast in Michigan. “A huge congratulations to these winning students on the hard work and creativity it took to produce these award-winning documentaries.”

 More than 300 students from across the country are winning a total of $100,000. C-SPAN is awarding one grand prize, 4 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.

High school students competed on a regional level,

with the United States divided into 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 150 winning videos can be viewed at and may be used in a broadcast with attribution to C-SPAN. To schedule an interview with one or more of the winning students, please contact Pam McGorry at

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.


About C-SPAN Classroom:

C-SPAN Classroom uses the network’s programs on public affairs, coverage of Congress, nonfiction books and American history to create FREE digital tools for teachers, students, and the public to use in classrooms, in projects or for research. C-SPAN Classroom’s website provides social studies teachers with access to thousands of free resources, including short current events videos, Lesson Plans and Bell Ringers, plus Constitution Clips and On This Day in History events. The education team also hosts the biweekly C-SPAN in the Classroom Podcast, available on the C-SPAN Now app or wherever you listen to podcasts. Engage with C-SPAN Classroom on Twitter and Facebook.


About C-SPAN:

C-SPAN, the public affairs network providing Americans with unfiltered access to congressional proceedings, was created in 1979 as a public service by the cable television industry and is now funded through fees paid by cable and satellite companies that provide C-SPAN programming. C-SPAN connects with millions of Americans through its three commercial-free TV networks, C-SPAN Radio, C-SPAN Podcasts, the C-SPAN Now and various social media platforms. The network’s video-rich website contains over 270,000 hours of searchable and shareable content. Engage with C-SPAN on TwitterFacebookInstagramTikTok and YouTube, and stay connected through weekly and daily newsletters. 

*Infographic courtesy of C-SPAN

Cynthia Tait

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