Secaucus, N.J. - A team of students from Val Verde High School in Perris, Calif. was selected from among 60 schools across the U.S. as the winners of the 21
Kid Witness News (KWN) program.
The students were selected as the winners of the U.S. Video of The Year for presenting an "insightful and moving video on teen suicide," Panasonic said.
The KWN program is a Panasonic-inspired year-long, in-school video education program and competition.
The winning Val Verde High School team traveled to Panasonic Corporation of North America's headquarters in New Jersey for the KWN New Vision Awards ceremony along with fellow finalists Maui High School (Maui, HI), Rachel B. Noel Middle School (Denver, CO) and Kingston High School (Kingston, NY).
The latter schools also won awards for presenting creative videos on social issues such as surviving cancer, the dangers of texting and body image.
Developed and funded by Panasonic, Kid Witness News encourages hands-on video education to develop cognitive, communication and organizational skills through the use of video.
Panasonic provides each participating school with a complete Digital Video Studio and suggested guidelines to augment the school's curriculum to encourage the children to express their hopes and concerns about the world around them.
Under teacher supervision, the students create, produce, direct and edit video shorts on a wide range of topics including current events and issues relevant to today's youth for submission in the yearly competition.
Participating schools this year received a Panasonic professional HD video camera, Panasonic said.
The program began in 1989 with one school in New Jersey and has since grown to include participants from 60 schools throughout the United States and 679 schools worldwide.
The winning Val Verde High School video entitled "Without Me," also received a KWN New Vision Award.
The four finalist schools and U.S. Video of the Year were selected by an independent panel of professionals comprised of educators, broadcasters, journalists, entertainers and industry leaders, who volunteer their time and expertise.
Videos submitted for the KWN New Vision Awards were initially reviewed by students and faculty from the Bronx Community College Film Division (Bronx, NY) with the top videos submitted for a final round of judging by the independent panel.
Each of this year's four finalist schools received a KWN New Vision Award trophy, a banner and a Winners Weekend which includes an all expense paid trip to the New Jersey/New York area for the awards program and a day in NYC.
In addition, the Val Verde High School U.S. Video of the Year team will receive a suite of Panasonic 3D products including a Viera Full HD 3D Plasma Television, 3D Blu-ray Player, 3D Camcorder and 3D Active Shutter Glasses.
Val Verde will also go on to represent the U.S. in the Panasonic Global Kid Witness News Awards which will be held on July 21 at Universal Studios in Hollywood, Calif. where their video will compete against finalists representing 26 countries from around the world.