Ann Arbor middle schoolers take first place in film contest to fight climate change
Editor's note: This story was updated to include an interview with Karina Kuchumov and to correct the spelling ofÂ Christina Vafaian's name.Â
A 12-year-old Ann Arbor girl was among a group of Michigan students honored recently for their films offering solutions for global climate change as part of the ShowGreenTV Student Film Challenge II.
Karina Kuchumov and her team took first place in the competition’s 13 and younger category for their submission “Earth.”
Also in her group were Christina Vafaian, Annika Tharp, and Zoe Zimmerman, all students at Clague Middle School, according to a list of awardees provided by Energy Works Michigan, a nonprofit that administers the Michigan Renewable Schools Program.
"It felt really good (to win) and we were all really happy,"Â Kuchumov said. "I could barely wait to tell all my friends."
Kuchumov said her group's video was created at school for class credit.
"It was about how Earth would be a better place to live if we would not release so (many) chemicals into the air by driving," she explained.Â
KuchumovÂ said her team donated their prize of a Flip video camera to their video production class. The group also won $200, which she said they divided amongst themselves.Â
Michael Duric, 16, of Bloomfield Hills, took first place in the category for 14-to-19-year-olds for his submission “Water: Earth’s Most Valuable Resource.”
Duric, now a junior at Lahser High School, said he became interested in video production when he was in the seventh grade. When he learned his video on global climate change and how it affects the Great Lakes took first place in his age division, he said, he was "ecstatic."
"I was there with my dad and he was proud of me," he said.
Kelly Weger, project coordinator for Energy Works Michigan, said the competition consisted of two rounds, the first, which took place last spring, asked students, “What is green to you?” And the second round, which came to a close Saturday with a screening and awards ceremony at Ann Arbor's Michigan Theater, asked students, “What is global climate change and what's your solution?”
Weger said the first round generated about 35 submissions, and the second round, about 11. Students did not have to compete in the first round to compete in the second.
“We really were pleased with the response,” she added.
The first round of the competition was open to students 19 and younger, and submissions came from all over the state and elsewhere in the country, Weger said. The second round was limited to Michigan students 19 and younger.
- Download a complete list of winners from the first and second rounds here.
- Click here to watch all of the student video submissions.
Winners received Flip video cameras and cash prizes up to $200.
Duric said his project earned him credit in a digital editing class at his high school. He offered a thank you to his teacher Donna Learmont for encouraging him.
His video offered tips for helping to curb global climate change, such as saving water and using Energy Star-rated appliances.
"It's going to be up to my generation ... to deal with this issue," he said.
- Learn about upcoming Energy Works Michigan contests here.