SAN BENITO — Students from around the country put their video production skills to the test and based on the results, these students’ efforts have proven to be successful.

On March 11, San Benito High School seniors Cassandra Luna, Kayla Garcia and Daniel Bautista were selected as honorable mention prize winners in C-SPAN’s national 2020 StudentCam competition.

Since 2006, C-SPAN has partnered with local cable television providers in communities nationwide and invites middle and high school students to produce short documentaries about a subject of national importance.

This year, students addressed the theme, “What’s Your Vision in 2020?”

The contest received more than 2,500 submissions from students in 44 states.

“StudentCam provides a platform for young people to have their voices heard on the issues they are clearly passionate about,” C-SPAN director of education relations Craig McAndrew stated in a press release. “This year’s entries reflect remarkable research and production values and feature a wide range of interviews with elected officials and experts.”

McAndrew said the life skills students learn from this experience will carry them forward in their academic, personal and professional lives.

Students were asked to explore an issue they most want presidential candidates to address during the 2020 presidential campaign.

According to a press release from C-SPAN representatives, 18 percent of student submissions addressed the environment, 15 percent addressed equality and discrimination, 13 percent addressed guns, 12 percent addressed health care and nine percent addressed immigration.

High school students competed on a regional level, with the United States divided into three regions — West, Central and East.

State Government Affairs for Charter Communications, Inc. senior vice president Adam Falk stated in a press release that Spectrum is committed to strengthening the communities where people live and work through educational programs such as StudentCam.

“We are proud of this partnership with C-SPAN that encourages students to think critically about the issues that affect our country and local community,” Falk stated. “Congratulations Cassandra, Kayla and Daniel on the creativity demonstrated in this excellent work.”

As honorable mention winners of the competition, Luna, Garcia and Bautista will receive $250 for creating their documentary, “The Immigration Crisis.”

“They put in a lot of hard work,” Career and Technical Education A/V production teacher Joel Rodriguez said. “They even came in during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays to work on the documentary.”

According to Luna, the team began working on the documentary in November of 2019.

“We were deciding between immigration or gun reform, but I felt like being so far south and then being right across from Mexico, I felt like the concept of immigration was something that is really big around here,” Luna said. “It was something that we were seeing every single day so we wanted to make a documentary about that.”

Luna, Garcia and Bautista utilized footage from C-SPAN and also shot their own footage with a drone.

The students conducted interviews with local community members and with officials such as U.S. Representative Filemon Vela, Jr. and State Representative Eddie Lucio III.

“I think what we really learned is how to interview people that are actual members of the community,” Luna said. “Before this, we hadn’t really interviewed anybody higher up and we were able to interview Filemon Vela and Eddie Lucio III so this was our first time actually interacting with bigger members of the community.”

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

• C-SPAN is a public affairs network that provides access to congressional proceedings and was created in 1979.

• To view the students’ documentary, visit https://tinyurl.com/tsj8kyl.