C-SPAN honors Ramsay High School documentary contest winners

Birmingham, Alabama, Mayor Woodfin, Ramsay, Ta'Kaiya Cooper, Ashleigh Richardson
Birmingham, Alabama, Mayor Woodfin, Ramsay, Ta'Kaiya Cooper, Ashleigh Richardson
Ta’Kaiya Cooper (left) and Ashleigh Richardson (right) with Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. Photo via studentcam.org.

C-SPAN is in Birmingham today, Tuesday, April 24, to celebrate two 12th graders from Ramsay High School. Ashleigh Richardson and Ta’Kaiya Cooper won a second-place prize for their entry, entitled “You Matter,” in the news outlet’s 2018 StudentCam documentary contest.

For the competition, C-SPAN asked middle and high school students nationwide to choose a provision of the U.S. Constitution and create a video about it. Richardson and Cooper of Birmingham selected the 15th amendment. They are the only students from the state of Alabama to win an award in the 2018 national competition.

Original handwritten resolution for the 15th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1870. The amendment was the subject of a short documentary by Ramsay High School students in Birmingham, Alabama, which won second-place in C-SPAN's 2018 StudentCam contest.
If you need to brush up on your high school civics lessons, the 15th amendment, ratified in 1870, stipulates that the voting rights of U.S. citizens “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race [or] color.” Image via ourdocuments.gov.

Making a Teacher Proud

Students at Ramsay High School have entered the competition for the past eight or nine years under the direction of their career tech teacher, Karzetta Bester. While they have won regional awards before, this is the school’s first national win, said Bester.

While examining the significance of the 15th amendment, “You Matter” also shines a light on the first decline in black voter turnout for a presidential election in 20 years, which occurred during the 2016 election.

“I’m extremely happy and proud of the students. They listened to the technical direction I gave them to edit and produce the film, and they went beyond what was asked of them. They chose a topic that is about their right to vote, and that hits close to home during this time in history.” – Karzetta Bester

The video features Birmingham city officials, including Mayor Randall Woodfin, Councilor Lashunda Scales, Board of Registrars Chair Barry Stephenson and the Honorable John E. Amari of Jefferson County’s 10th Judicial Circuit.

“All participants discuss their view of the 15th amendment and different setbacks minorities and those who were incarcerated face. Also, the consequences that occur when the 15th amendment isn’t used to its full potential is discussed,” said the filmmakers.

As second-place winners, Richardson and Cooper will receive a $1,500 cash prize. The award ceremony takes place at 1 p.m. today in the Rasmay High School Auditorium in Birmingham.

Birmingham, Mayor Woodfin, Mayor Randall Woodfin, Greater Birmingham Humane Society
Mayor Woodfin. Photo via AJC.com.
Birmingham, Alabama, Councilor Lashunda Scales, Councilor Scales
Councilor Scales. Photo via birminghamalcitycouncil.org.
C-SPAN 2018 StudentCam by the Numbers
  • 5,700 middle and high school participants
  • 2,985 video submissions
  • 46 states represented, plus Washington DC, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates
  • 22 student-produced videos selected to air on C-SPAN
  • 1 of top 22 videos produced by students of Ramsay High School 

Missed the TV Debut? Catch It Online

“You Matter” aired on C-SPAN in partnership with Spectrum local cable providers on April 11, but you can watch it at https://www.viddler.com/v/9b2bd2a9. Learn more about StudentCam and find other student-produced videos at studentcam.org.

Birmingham, Alabama, Ramsay High School
Photo by Terri Robertson.
Tell Ramsay High School You’re Proud

Send congratulations to these two awesome students on their big day in the C-SPAN spotlight by commenting on this post.