April 6, 2014 01:00AM
By Molly Callahan
MERIDEN — Students at Washington Middle Schooland Platt and Maloney high schools have been chosen as finalists in a statewide video contest about student ideas to improve education.
The second annual “Student Voices Video Contest” sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents and the Connecticut Association of Schools seeks middle- and high school students to “develop creative thoughtful, and practical recommendations for improving education,” according to a news release.
Students are tasked with creating a one- to four-minute video that highlights those recommendations to be judged in either a middle school or high school category. Three finalists for each category are chosen, then voting is opened to the public.
“It’s so important to hear our students’ voices because essentially they’re our consumer,” said Janet Garagliano, staff associate for leadership development at the superintendents association.
In both the middle school and high school categories, winners receive cash prizes. All finalists get $100 gift cards, and at the middle school level, the first-place video takes home $800; second place, $400; and third place, $200. In the high school category, the first-place video receives $1,500; second place, $700; and third place, $350.
Three students from Washington Middle School worked together to build a video that made it to the voting round. Zeel Patel, Madison Wilson, and Amanda Vazquez interviewed their peers about topics ranging from integrating technology into the classroom, incorporating learning games into the curriculum, college and career readiness, and teaching life skills.
“The kids have worked extremely hard on the project, and they’re great kids,” Washington Principal Ray Southland said.
By Saturday afternoon, with nearly three weeks of voting left, Washington was trailing two submissions by Bethel Middle School students by three votes and 12 votes, respectively.
In the high school category, Meriden students secured two of the three finalist slots.
Michaela Phonkhoumphon and Jennifer Marrufo, students at Platt High School, created a video that focused on the use of mobile devices in classrooms.
Justin Beardsley, Melissa Ramos and Amanda Lavoie, all Maloney students, produced a video based on increasing parent involvement, using mobile devices during class, and individualized learning.
By Saturday afternoon, Maloney’s video had 76 votes and Platt’s had 99. Both were ahead of a submission from Weston High School, which had two votes.
To view the videos, or to vote, visit www.ctstudentvoices.com.