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Weston High Students' Idea Wins Statewide Video Contest

Click on the video above to see the winning entry submitted by Weston's James Willis and Liam Keith in the Student Voices contest.
Click on the video above to see the winning entry submitted by Weston's James Willis and Liam Keith in the Student Voices contest. Video Credit: James Willis and Liam Keith

WESTON, Conn. – Weston High School students James Willis and Liam Keith took first prize in the statewide “Student Voices” video competition this year.

The contest was sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) and The Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS). The two organizations asked students in grades 6-12 to write and produce short videos with ideas for improving the state’s education system.

“Every video we received was creative, engaging and revealed a passion for improving public education in Connecticut,” CAPSS Executive Director Joseph Cirasuolo said in a news release. “We congratulate the students on their achievements and commend them for taking the time to develop such creative and engaging videos.”

Willis and Keith earned first prize in the high school division for their video, which pushed for “Project Based Learning.” The educational system focuses on students doing work in groups rather than standard lecture-based classes. The video features Willis sharing his experiences with the system at a California school before he moved to Weston.

“I wasn’t just given a worksheet and told to do work,” Willis says in the video. “I was actually given the opportunity to work with my peers and solve problems for ourselves, and not just be taught and given a piece of paper.”

For their first-place finish Willis and Keith will receive a $1,500 college scholarship.

Other ideas featured in contest entries included integrating more technology into the learning process, recommendations for new classes and strategies for restructuring the school day. You can see other submissions on the contest website.

”I am so pleased that all the student entries were creative, thoughtful, and provided great suggestions for how we can improve schools,” CAS Executive Director Karissa Niehoff said in a news release. “It is important for us to listen to students, consider their ideas, and involve them as appropriate in the work of bettering our schools.  After all, schools are for kids."

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