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Students share successes in new video competition

Middle and high school students in southern and eastern Kentucky now have an opportunity to tell their success stories about what makes them proud of their education.  A new website,, is providing a forum for student-made videos to highlight curriculum, strategies and people that are making a difference in education.

Forward in the Fifth, a regional non-profit organization that supports increasing educational attainment, is working with the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative and the University of Pikeville to coordinate and promote the video project to draw attention to the progress of education in the Appalachian region of Kentucky.  Students from the University of Pikeville designed the website.

“We learn a lot about educational needs through meetings and phone calls, but there’s nothing quite like seeing education in action first hand, especially from a student’s perspective,” said Congressman “Hal” Rogers. “I want to commend the students at UPIKE for designing such an impressive website where we can share ideas across the region and brag on the great strides we’re making in education in one of the most rural parts of the country. I am eager to see the creative videos from our middle and high school students, highlighting the work in their own classrooms.”

Individual students or student groups may submit videos up to 90 seconds in length to highlight innovative programs in school or out-of-school time, volunteer programs that are making a difference or powerful personal stories.  They may also focus on strong curriculum, robust instructional strategies or best practices by educators, schools or districts.  However, since school sports are already well-covered in local communities, videos on that topic will generally not be accepted unless they are unique in promoting education for a person or group in a special way.

Forward in the Fifth will accept videos in two divisions: middle school (grades 6-8) and high school.  Videos submitted by February 28, 2013 will be entered into a competition for special recognition in their community and regionally.

“We want to encourage student groups to produce videos as part of a school project as well as individual students filming what they see is making a difference in their education,” said Jim Tackett, executive director of Forward in the Fifth.  “Not everyone has access to a movie camera, but a good story can also be told by using a cell phone to make a 60 or 90 second film” added Tackett.

A review and selection committee will screen all submissions and those that are accepted will be featured on the New Voices in Education website.  Judging will center on content, use of theme, originality, creativity, editing and technical quality.  To add excitement to the competition, motion picture screen writer Jeffrey Reddick will serve as one of the judges this year.  Reddick is a graduate of Breathitt County High School and has served as writer and producer for several motion pictures.

The website also features several tools for making short films including free editing programs. Rules for participation and release forms are also available on the site at

“I will be excited to see what our students develop as part of this competition,” said Jeff Hawkins, executive director of the Kentucky Valley Education Cooperative. “This project allows each of us to see the influence our schools and communities are making on a regular basis.”

“We are committed to improving access and college readiness for middle and high school students.  This project, which incorporates storytelling, digital media and web design, brings these students together in a positive way.  The University of Pikeville’s web design class and the Film and Media Arts program will continue to be involved in the process and are looking forward to seeing video submissions,” said James Hurley, president-elect at the University of Pikeville.

Jeff Hawkins, executive director of the Kentucky Valley Education Cooperative adds, “I will be excited to see what our students develop as part of this competition.  This project allows each of us to see the influence our schools and communities are making on a regular basis.”

For more information or to submit a video, visit the website at or contact Forward in the Fifth at or at 606-677-6000.

Support, in part, for New Voices in Education comes from a literacy grant through the US Department of Education.

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