3 Students Film Their Way to $1,000 Prizes

In videos posted on YouTube, chicken owners and filmmakers share how education can help them meet their goals.

by Tanya Roscorla / December 10, 2009 0

13-year-old Jordan Lederman loves her chickens.

She raises hens, including Rhode Island Reds, at her Washington home and helped her dad build a coop for them using the skills she learned in woodshop class at Pine Lake Middle School. And those aren't the only skill she's applied.

Jordan calculates how much antibiotics to put into their water, reads books and articles about her favorite animal, and studies how eggs develop.

"When I grow up, I want to be a chicken," Jordan said in a video she created. "Oh wait, no, I want to raise chickens, and school is going to help me fulfill that goal."

That video earned her third place out of more than 600 entries in the U.S. Education Department's "I Am What I Learn" contest, which asked students to create two-minute videos describing how how education will help them meet their goals.

After the department narrowed down 600 YouTube entries to 10, it opened voting up to the public. More than 28,000 votes later, Jordan and two other students found themselves the owners of $1,000 each, some of which they will put toward college.


'You don't have to stay in the situation you're put in'


Senior Rene Harris from Oxford Area High School in Pennsylvania won first place for her entry, which showed how she has overcome tough times at home to succeed in school. Despite her dad being in jail and her mom having a stroke, she is still working hard to fulfill her passion for filming, and she challenges other students to do the same.

"You can have the best teacher in the world, and that's not going to mean anything if you don't listen, if you don't take notes, if you don't care," Harris said. "You need to make the best of every situation you're in."


The life of a movie director

On a lighter note, junior Alex Hughes from Southeast Guilford High School in North Carolina produced an entertaining clip about his dream to become a movie director.

In his second place video, Hughes gave three reasons why education will help him chase his dream:

  • Studios in Hollywood will be checking his resume to see if he knows his stuff.
  • It's fulfilling, builds character and is one of the true rewards of hard work.
  • If he doesn't become a movie director, he has something to fall back on; having a college degree won't hurt.


A chick-filled career

Back in Washington, an education will give Jordan a lot of options when it comes to reaching her goal of raising chickens.

"I could be a vet, a teacher, an ornothologist and maybe queen of the chicken world," she said, "if I want to."

To see videos from the other finalists, check out the contest YouTube channel