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3 Long Reach High School Students Celebrated For Award-Winning Documentary

COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) -- It was a day of celebration at Long Reach High School in Columbia.

Three students were honored Friday morning for an award-winning documentary that they produced.

Their winning studentcam documentary was recognized by C-Span as one of the best videos in the country.

Victoria Ely, Megan McDonnell and Katherine Park's produced the five-minute video on the subject of immigration.

"It kind of started off with maybe this is what we should do our project on," Ely said. "Then as we researched more about it we learned how many families were affected, how many children were dying. It kind of became like our passion was unlocked."

It took the three students five months to produce the five-minute documentary.

"I think it's a really important topic because what we chose is something that people don't shed a lot of light on," McDonnell said.

The title of the film is "From American Dream To Jail Cells"

"These girls reached out to 20 different people, some of those people didn't even reply to them," Craig McAndrew, C-Span Education Relations Manager, said. "They were fortunate enough to get three great experts about the topic, and support what they were trying to do with their documentary."

This is the third straight year Long Reach High School students have produced a winning video in the C-Span competition.

"We've had topics on equity in education, last year it was about First Amendment rights, and this year it's about immigration," Long Reach High School Principal Josh Wasilewski said. "So really important topics have done incredibly well by our students."

The students received a $250 prize.

"It's unreal because we didn't think that we would win or get this far, so it's really amazing," Park said.

C-Span partners with local cable television providers in communities nationwide to invite middle and high school students to produce short documentaries about a subject of national importance.

C-Span said a record of 6,318 students submitted more than 3,00 videos in the competition.

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