BMS Students Receive National C-SPAN Award
Posted On:
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Award recipients with  Patricia Keough, NP
Award recipients with Patricia Keough, NP

Congratulations to BMS students Brady Vermette, Liz Goncalves and Kendyl Vermette for being awarded Honorable Mention in this year's C-SPAN StudentCam competition. They produced a documentary on The Opioid Drug Epidemic, Our Nation in Crisis.  You can view their award winning video by clicking here.

“The effort, time and creativity that students displayed to complete this assignment was unbelievable,” shared Mrs. Stacy Monette, BMS Principal. “This project went above and beyond a typical classroom project.  To see Baird students earn honorable mention in a nationwide contest is something that makes me immensely proud."

StudentCam is C-SPAN's annual national video documentary competition that encourages students to think critically about issues that affect our communities and our nation. According to their website, “this year we received 2,903 films from over 5,600 students - the most entries in the thirteen years of the competition. Entries came from 46 states, as well as Washington DC, England, Germany, Singapore and Taiwan.”

The theme for this year’s competition was: Your Message To Washington: What is the most urgent issue for the new president and Congress to address in 2017? Students in grades 6-12 were asked to create a short (5-7 minute) video documentary related to this topic that demonstrated how a policy, law, or action by either the executive, legislative, or judicial branch has affected you or your community.

At Baird Middle School (BMS) the 8th grade Penguin Team participated in this exciting project.  It was an interdisciplinary project in both ELA and History classes that spanned 6 weeks. They could choose to work alone, or in groups of two or three, per C-SPAN contest rules. Students researched topics such as the electoral college, the refugee crisis, equal pay for women, immigration, climate change, the school to prison pipeline, gun control, the opioid crisis, bullying, and term limits for Congress.

Students identified and invited potential interviewees to share their knowledge and perspectives on the various issues, and were responsible for both creating questions and filming the actual interview. Interviewees for the award winning film included LPS School Committee Chair and Ludlow Police Officer James “Chip” Harrington, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi (pictured below), Nurse Practitioner, Patricia Keough, and Southwick Police Chief, David Ricardi.

Also interviewed by other students for this project were State Senator Eric Lesser, Nazda Alam, the first female Muslim American electoral college voter from Massachusetts, Assistant District Attorney Karen Bell, Ed Fendley from the EPA, local meteorologist Janna Brown, MTA President Barbara Madeloni, as well as professors from Mt. Holyoke College, UMASS, WNEU, Westfield State University, Harvard, Salem State, and Boston College.

In addition to explaining their issues and showing multiple perspectives and interviews, final documentaries also included a C-SPAN news clip, B roll, charts, infographics, photographs, and other visuals to support their information.

Again this year, many thanks go to the teachers on the Penguin Team- Michelle D’Amore, Laura O’Keefe, Diane Ogorzalek, Beth Jarzabek, and Jordan Funke, BMS Library Media Specialist- for challenging, motivating and inspiring their students to push their limits beyond their comfort zones, towards excellence.

While only one student group earned recognition in this year's competition, there were many fantastic submissions. Please join us in the Baird Middle School Auditorium on March 29th, during the annual Spaghetti Supper, to watch a sampling of our submissions.

The Baird community looks forward to the C-SPAN media bus visit sometime this spring, to present the award to Liz, Brady, and Kendyl. Each of the students who participated in the project will also get the opportunity to tour the technology-equipped media bus that tours the country and visits all 150 award recipients.

Kendyl Vermette, Liz Goncalves & Brady Vermette 

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