Clearwater High student wins second place prize in national video contest

Allie Chandler, 17, narrates her award-winning video, "Guns in Our Schools," which seeks ways to make students safer. Click this image to watch Allie's video.

Clearwater High junior Alexandra “Allie” Chandler won second place in C-SPAN’s annual StudentCam contest for her video documentary about protecting students from gun violence.

CSPAN’s national video documentary competition encourages students to think seriously about issues affecting communities and the nation. The StudentCam 2013 contest asked students to create a short video documentary on the following theme: “Message to the President — What’s the most important issue that the president should consider in 2013.”

Allie’s video “Guns in Our Schools” offers suggestions for making schools safer. Allie’s mother, Lisa, was a student at Pinellas Park High on Feb. 11, 1988, and witnessed the mayhem that followed the fatal shooting of beloved assistant principal Richard Allen by one of the students. Allie featured her mom’s story in her award-winning project, which she dedicated to Richard Allen and the hundreds of lives lost in school shootings.

Watch Allie’s video.

C-SPAN announced Allie’s award and others on Wednesday, March 6. Allie, as well as three other second place high school winners, will each receive $1,500, according to contest details.

Allie hopes the award will draw more attention to the topic and motivate others who see her video to take action, too.

It’s also rewarding to receive recognition for doing something she truly enjoys, she said.

“This is my passion. This is what I love to do,” said Allie, 17. “Some kids play sports. Some kids are really good at academics. This is what I’m best at, in my opinion.”

Allie initially planned to produce a video on another topic, but changed her mind after seeing a news report about the Newtown shootings.

“It kind of inspired me to look at the security issues we have and how we can improve and fix them,” Allie said.

Allie’s teacher, Cara Ryan, said Allie deserves the recognition.

“She’s a very community-spirited child. She’s very aware of her talent, but wants to use it for good. She’s the kind of kid that wants to change the world and make it a better place,” said Ryan who teaches journalism, film and video at Clearwater High.

Allie is well known for her work at Clearwater High School. Over the past three years, Allie has been awarded first place in various competitions, including the Educational Media Awards, Pinellas County School Board video contests, Future Business Leaders of America national contests and the Allstate Insurance & More Health Anti-Texting and Driving Video Campaign.

Allie is also president of her class, president of Clearwater High’s Future Business Leaders of America, vice president of the school’s digital media productions group and executive director of Clearwater High’s lip dub for multiple causes.