Brothers from Montgomery County, Maryland, and 13 other D.C.-area students will have their documentaries aired nationwide as winners of a competition.
Twins Tyler and Dermott Foley, who are 7th graders at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring, took home $5,000 as grand prize winners of C-SPAN’s national 2022 StudentCam competition with their documentary, “What Happened to Gibson Grove?”
The twins’ flick examined the way the Gibson Grove community in Cabin John, Md., was decimated by highway expansion. The film explores similar policies carried out throughout the United States that often had outsized impacts on Black communities.
“What Happened to Gibson Grove” will air on C-SPAN at 6:50 a.m. and throughout the day April 21.
More than 3,000 students across the country took part in the contest, which asked students to create a short documentary that addressed the theme, “How does the federal government impact your life?”
Looking through the winning entries, it becomes clear that the Foley twins are just two of a dozen Eastern Middle School winners this year.
Matt Johnson, principal at Eastern, said he’s super proud of his kids, but even more so, he says these honors are part of the students’ intellectual curiosity.
“This is just a culmination of the hard work of teachers and students in the humanities program, and, you know, they pick the topics, they do the research, they get guidance along the way, but it really speaks to their creativity and interest in the world around them,” Johnson said.
Other Eastern winners were:
- Sophia Jones, Lilia Lash and Riley MacArthur, also Eastern Middle students, took second place with “Not Applicable: Religious Exemptions and the Effects of Title IX.” It airs on C-SPAN at 6:50 a.m. ET and throughout the day April 5.
- Anjali Harrison and Isabella Langlee’s work, “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” was also a 2nd place finisher in the contest. Their doc airs on C-SPAN at 6:50 a.m. ET and throughout the day April 13.
- Varun Srinivasan, Daniel Franca-Koh and Noa Dubnov won 2nd with their documentary, “Connection Lost: Broadband Inequality and the Digital Divide.” It will air on C-SPAN at 6:50 a.m. ET and throughout the day April 9.
- Casey Pendergast & Margaret VanDerWoude Falling Short of the IDEA
- Emily Liu & Elisa Tsao A Plastic Pandemic
- Jacob Hamilton-Rohe, Sean Flaherty, & Andrew Luse The Paris Climate Agreement: Are We Doing Enough?
- Lydia Seo, Catherine Yang, & Vera Signoret Making Change: School Gun Violence in America
- Elora Derbyshire & Rae Foster The Anti-Progressive Pause: What Committing to the Paris Climate Agreement Means for the Future of Our Country
- Justin Tobiason, Liam Classen, & Seamus Freeman The Clean Air Act and the Climate Crisis
Dozens of other students in the D.C. region received prizes in the competition. C-SPAN received more than 1,400 entries from 41 different states, D.C., Morocco and South Korea. The 150 winners can be viewed on the competition website.