Arts & Culture Schools / Kids

CHS 9th Grader Lily Forman Wins International Student Video Contest

From Population Connection:

Lily Forman

Over 5,000 students in grades 6 through 12 from 50 countries and 44 U.S. states and territories participated in this year’s “World of 7 Billion” video contest sponsored by Population Connection — and one of the only 18 winners was Lily Forman, a ninth grader at Columbia High School.

The videos explored population growth as it relates to one of three challenges: Feeding 10 Billion, Preventing Pollution and Advancing Girls and Women.

This was Lily Forman’s second time entering the contest.T his time around, she connected what she learned about population and its impacts to women’s equality and health, issues she cares about deeply. Since middle school, Lily has attended a summer camp that helps empower young women and encourages them to speak their truth.

The most challenging part of the project for Lily was translating her concept for the video into reality. She explains that creating her stop-motion film meant combining a lot of individually photographed frames, even for a video that was just one-minute long. Lily advises future participants to make a video about something that really interests you and “find a way to personalize” the subject of your video. Lily says she focused her video on women’s access to healthcare because having “access to proper resources is relevant to everyone” and she cares about people’s inherent rights to health and life no matter their gender. Lily plans to donate some of her prize money to the International Women’s Health Coalition and Population Action International, two groups she promotes in her video for their work securing rights and resources for women and girls around the world.

Lily commits her time to several clubs focused on social justice and action. One of the biggest influences in her life has been her social studies teacher Ms. Stephanie Rivera, who sponsors a social justice-focused club Lily is active in. Lily shared that Ms. Rivera effectively connected history to current events and injustices in her class, and taught her how one person can make a difference in the world. In the future, Lily hopes to become a teacher who can help students learn about social issues and empower them to use their own voices to speak out against injustice.

The three high-school first-place winners each received a $1,000 cash prize, while the three second-place winners each received $500 and six honorable mentions each received $250. Middle-school students who claimed first and second place received $500 and $250, respectively. Winning students hail from the U.S., Canada, Belgium and Slovenia. 

In addition to educating viewers about their chosen topic and how it relates to human population growth, students had to include at least one idea for a sustainable solution. “These aren’t just great young filmmakers,” said John Seager, president of Population Connection. “All of the winners are inspirational voices for a sustainable and compassionate future.”

The contest was organized and promoted during the 2017-18 school year by Population Education, a program of Population Connection; submissions were due February 22, 2018. A panel of 61 judges—including college and high-school educators, filmmakers and topic experts—selected the winners.

Most students find out about the contest through their teachers, many of whom use it as a vehicle to teach research and communication skills. “We select themes each year that not only address timely global issues, but also dovetail nicely with the content in many middle- and high-school social studies and science classes,” said Pam Wasserman, senior vice president for education at Population Connection.

See Lily’s winning video here:

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