Three Students Win Video Contest Hosted by U.S. Department of Education and YouTube
Each student will receive a $1,000 prize from the U.S. Department of Education
Archived Information

December 10, 2009
Contact: Press Office (202) 401-1576 or
More Resources
Winning videos

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that the following students are winners of its “I Am What I Learn” video contest: Rene Harris, Alex Hughes and Jordan Lederman.

  • Harris, 17, is a 12th grader at Oxford Area High School in Oxford, Pa. In her entry, Harris shares her story about overcoming personal setbacks at home. “A lot of young people have negative stuff going on in their lives. I figured by telling my story, I may inspire others to get serious about learning so they can get to where they want to be,” Harris said. Her video can be viewed here:

  • Hughes, 16, is an 11th grader at Southeast Guilford High School in Greensboro, N.C. In his entry, Hughes discusses the importance of education in achieving his dream to become a movie director. He explains, “Education is important to me because it will decide how I live my life. I know that if I work hard enough on my education, I will reach my ultimate goal.” His video can be viewed here:

  • Lederman, 13, is an eighth grader at Pine Lake Middle School in Sammamish, Wash. In her entry, Lederman explains the intersection of education and the thing she loves most -- chickens. Hoping to one day have her own farm of pet chickens, Lederman plans to use her award in three ways: she will save some money for college; she will donate some money to an international organization that purchases hens for poor families; and she will use the rest to take care of her own chickens. Her video can be viewed here:

“These students have demonstrated creativity and passion in sharing their personal stories,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “I congratulate each of them for winning this contest, and I wish them the best in continuing to pursue their dreams.”

The contest, launched Sept. 21, asked students to create videos, up to two minutes long, about the importance of education in achieving their personal goals. Students across the country submitted more than 600 videos, which featured stories from diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Communications and Outreach carefully reviewed each of the videos and narrowed the group to 10 finalists, which were announced on Nov. 16. More than 28,000 votes were cast between Nov. 16 and Dec. 4. The winners were the top three vote getters and will each receive a $1,000 cash prize from the U.S. Department of Education. The videos of the winners and the rest of the finalists can be viewed at



Back to December 2009

Print this page Printable view Bookmark  and Share
Last Modified: 12/15/2009