Students across the country displayed their patriotism in a video contest that showcased how much artistic talent fills our classrooms, and how much American pride fills our students’ hearts.
The 2021 WoodmenLife “America Is …” video contest received all sorts of entries that were inspirational and meaningful. Patriotism was at full-staff in many ways, from little ones celebrating American pride in rhythm, to students honoring their service member parents, to kids saluting their country in slice-of-life vignettes, and more.
Students from kindergarten through eighth grade were encouraged to enter the contest. They submitted an original video up to 60 seconds long illustrating the theme, “America, the Beautiful.” Voters on the WoodmenLife Facebook page selected the top three videos.
Coopers Elementary Teacher Michelle Jackson loves America’s historical places. She was devastated when COVID-19 prevented her from traveling in 2020. Her fix? Decorating her classroom as a symbol of patriotism. She believed reassuring images of American pride would help her students get through the trying times.
When she heard about the “America Is …” video contest, she knew she and her students could use parts of the classroom to show their patriotism. They were driven by a quote from President Ronald Reagan: “America is too great for small dreams.”
Jackson composed poetry to go along with three scenes, keeping it simple for her first-graders. A resounding chorus of “CHICKA BOOM!” anchored each stanza.
Jackson said she’s overwhelmed by winning first place.
“This is a teacher’s dream!” she said. “Teachers are overjoyed if they ever get any amount of money for their classroom, so I am humbled and grateful.
“Thank you so much, WoodmenLife, for caring about educators and students!”
For starters, Jackson plans to use the money to buy leveled readers for her guided reading library, language arts curricula to enhance her lessons and a few subscriptions for the classroom. She’d also like to purchase digital writing tablets for the students.
Do you know what America looks like from the eyes of a military child? Having been one, Desertaire Elementary teacher Lorena Fonseca does. And she wanted military children in her class to show their vision of our nation.
Those students developed a script that reflected what makes America beautiful to them. They showed their patriotism by standing with their parents in uniform and expressing appreciation of their service.
For the video, school staff members jumped in to help make the backgrounds, and the IT teacher assisted with technical support.
“Our students took this project seriously and shared the same goal in honoring America,” Fonseca said. “Each student demonstrated confidence and leadership throughout the process.”
She said the school will use its cash prize to hold a modified ice cream social and a movie for students. Leftover money will buy replacement supplies or equipment for students.
“We haven’t been able to do much for them due to COVID,” Fonseca said. “So, we felt that this was a safe way. The P.E. Department and I will be hosting this social during P.E. time, and all grade levels will participate.
“I appreciate you taking the time to recognize our Desertaire students.”
Pink Hill Elementary student Layla T. composed her school’s patriotism project in a classic one-person band approach. She imagined it, wrote it and championed it. She saw the video as a way to honor her vision of America, the Beautiful, along with her school and classmates, said teacher Jodi Stocks.
Layla created her footage in Keynote, created the effects and picked out the music. Then, she and Stocks worked together to turn it into a video.
“It was nice to be able to work with a student to turn their idea into a reality,” Stocks said. “Layla wanted me to tell WoodmenLife thank you for supporting our school, and that she really enjoyed the process.”
Stocks said the prize money will buy art supplies to pair with the grant Pink Hill recently won to create an outdoor art classroom.
The “America Is …” video contest is just one way WoodmenLife looks to celebrate our American pride with others across the U.S. That’s because we value our American freedoms, and that’s why we’ve presented more than 3.5 million flags to nonprofit organizations, schools and communities nationwide.
We understand the importance of patriotism. And our members1 are bound together by a shared commitment to family, community and country. Since our founding in 1890, we’ve provided opportunities to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy and thank those who protect them. Visit WoodmenLife.org/Patriotism to learn more about WoodmenLife and its commitment to patriotism.
We’ve been helping to protect the financial future of families like yours, making a difference in hometowns across America and honoring our country since 1890. As a not-for-profit life insurance company, we put money back into the community. We’re here when you need us most.Learn More About WoodmenLife