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“Why I Love” National Student Video Contest, 2012

A panel of prominent film celebrities and education leaders judged 1-2 minute student videos on the theme "Why I Love," and their seven lucky winners in the national student video contest were announced on January 17, 2013.

Winners were selected in three categories: middle school (grades 6-8), high school (grades 9-12), and college/university (undergraduate and graduate) students. There were not enough eligible entries in the middle school category for 2nd or 3rd place winners. All winners received cash prizes and merchandise for their schools.

Congratulations to all the winners and thank you so much to our esteemed judges. We love that you all love Here's a 3-minute highlight reel of all the entries, and the winners appear below.



Middle School (Grades 6-8)
1st Place
James Piehl, " Rules!"
(Naperville, IL)

High School (Grades 9-12)
1st Place 2nd Place
Michael Ge, "ProCon and Reliable Data”
(West Covina, CA)
Mark Morud, "Life After ProCon”
(Warren, OR)
3rd Place
Landon Gerrits, "Untitled”
(Fresno, CA)

College/University (Undergraduate and Graduate)
1st Place 2nd Place
John William Leonard, "Promoting Critical Thinking”
(Manhattan, KS)
Ellen Chmielowski, " = A+ on My Final Papers”
(Austin, TX)
3rd Place
Ryan Longley, "Just Go ProCon It"
(Manchester, NH)

Each of seven judges completed a scoring sheet, and all scores were combined to determine overall winners. The seven judges were (in alphabetical order):

Jeff Harris, CEO of the Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) Foundation, has directed 14 sessions of JSA summer schools at prestigious universities including Stanford, Princeton, and Georgetown. He’s also a board member of the California Association of Student Councils.

Gregory Mackenzie, President of Impatient Pictures, directed "Camille” (with James Franco and Sienna Miller) and "The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie” (with Gena Rowlands, Kevin Zegers, and James Caan).

Mike Marvin, Director, Producer, Writer, Actor on dozens of films, has film credits which include "Atlas Shrugged: Part I” (writer), "Hot Dog… The Movie” (producer and actor), and "The Wraith” (director) featuring Charlie Sheen, Nick Cassavetes, and Randy Quaid. IMDB profile:

Whitney Novak, MBA, is the former COO and a current consultant at Mathnasium Learning Centers, the world’s largest math tutoring company. She is Co-Owner of Kazoo Toys of Atlanta, and mom to a beautiful 6-month old daughter... who will be good at math in exchange for toys.,

Tod Oliver, PhD, MBA, Senior Leadership & Organizational Development Consultant at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is also a former National Learning Consultant for Cox Communications.

Ken Wheaton, MA, Managing Editor of Advertising Age, was born and raised in Opelousas, Louisiana, he now lives in Brooklyn and thinks your idea of what gumbo is is probably completely wrong. He’s also the author of The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival (2010).

Mark Youngren, Senior Artist at Industrial Light & Magic, has film credits which include: "Star Trek,” "Transformers 2,” "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” and "Terminator Salvation.”

[Editor's Note: We originally mischaracterized Mark Morud's entry as a middle school entry when it was a high school entry. Based on the points awarded from the judges, Mark becomes the second place winner in the high school category. Landon, who we originally announced as the second place winner, becomes the third place winner. We also originally neglected to recognize Ryan Longley for winning third prize in the college/university category.]