April 2, 2008

Bolton Trio Sweeps Competition

Rachael DeWorth, Margaux Jurgensen and Anna Yancey knew Nickelodeon was filming them.

The three Bolton High School students also knew they were finalists in a video contest by the Virtue Foundation.

What they didn’t know was that they are the only finalists in the contest.

“We are it?,” Anna asked her teacher, Dawayna Sanders.

“You are the finalists,” Sanders told her students.

Their eyes lit up and smiles crept across their faces.

“That is so cool,” Anna said.

The students created documentaries on people who had provided help during Hurricane Katrina and Rita. It was a class project for their publications class. Sanders submitted the work, which included interviews with neighbors, National Guardsmen and family
members, for the Virtue Foundation contest.

The contest was through the foundation that donated the school’s first laptop computers for the implementation of the Digital Academy.

The contest gave the students a chance to meet people in their community who gave back during the hurricanes while utilizing 21st Century technology.

Filming the students on Tuesday was a crew from Nickelodeon’s “N Network,” which is geared to adolescents.

School officials did not know when the interview might air or when the winners would be announced.

Sanders said she has been told that Virtue Foundation officials and “N Network” officials could come to the school April 18 for a screening party where the three videos will be shown.

Network officials also are supposed to host a workshop to give the students tips on filming video and producing it, Sanders said.

“We didn’t know how big this contest was going to be,” Sanders said. “This is huge for my students to be recognized and their work validated on a national level.”

Anna interviewed a Rapides Parish bus driver, who after one day on the job was sent to New Orleans to help evacuate trapped residents. She even shared a story of a bus driver who drove a man and two dogs to Houston because no one else would take him.

Anna also used pictures taken by her father shortly after the hurricane hit.

Margaux talked to a neighbor who took in family for three months and helped them try to recover what they could in New Orleans.

The interviewee described the city looking like a war zone with all the houses flooded.

Rachael interviewed her mom who works at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic School. Her mother talked about the school opening its doors to families, not only to find them housing but to educate their children.

All three students said they were touched by the efforts made in their communities to help those impacted by the storms.

“The storms really had an impact on everyone even though we were in Alexandria,” Margaux said.

“There were a lot of little things done by people that made a big impact following the hurricane,” Anna said. “It made a difference.” For the students, these were their first documentaries.

In addition to talking about the contest, the “N Network” crew also interviewed the students about Bolton’s Digital Academy, which provides a laptop to every student in the school.

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