C-SPAN mobile classroom visits Rockford, encourages kids to get politically involved

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Students at a pair of Rockford high schools received a chance to check out C-SPAN’s high-tech mobile classroom on Wednesday.

The bus, which contains a full production studio, stopped off at Jefferson High School, at 4145 Samuelson Road, and East High School, at 2929 Charles Street.

The visits highlight the free educational resources C-SPAN offers to students.

C-SPAN’s Shannon Augustus says teachers and students are encouraged to take advantage of the C-SPAN video library.

“That has over 250,000 hours of content on there, so students can actually use that resource and use it as a primary source,” Augustus said. “So, we’re meeting with a lot of (Associated Press) journalism students. We’re meeting with a lot of AP government students. So, a lot of the students can use that as a primary source, whether they’re in college or in high school.”

Aboard the bus, students were able to use interactive kiosks to learn about C-SPAN’s coverage of some of the American political process.

“I don’t think young people are really attached to the political world, so something like this is kind of fun,” said Jefferson student Nada Abdulaziz. “It also teaches the young people enough to know what’s happening around them.”

Augustus said they’ve been meeting with a lot of seniors who will be eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election.

“Students can go to on our website [and] check out all the folks that have declared their candidacy for the presidency, and find out more,” she said. “They can watch our programming and see who they would like to vote for.”

C-SPAN also offers an annual documentary competition called StudentCam, which is open to middle and high school students.

The theme this year, “What’s Your Vision for 2020?”, revolves around what students want the presidential candidate to talk about, in an effort to bring more young people to the polls.

Jefferson student Raziel Jefferson said, “It’s a way for students with talent in journalism or news broadcasting…to better their opportunities of voicing what they feel on their mind, or whatever they feel is needed to be brought to the public eye.”

Augustus said, “We’ve heard students talk about climate change. We heard students talk about infrastructure. So, students can really have anything that they’re interested in and really do this documentary. It’s a five-to-six minute documentary, using a bit of C-SPAN content. And we just make sure that it’s balanced.”

Over 150 winners from throughout the country will be chosen in the StudentCam competition, which features a Grand Prize of $5,000.

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