Urbandale Students Win C-SPAN Competition

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URBANDALE, Iowa – Three Urbandale students won a C-SPAN documentary competition on what it means to be an American.

The Central Region champions include Mat Moran, Riley Vander Hart and Jacob Sammon.

The three students interviewed about two dozen people asking the question about what it means to be an American, while focusing on the First Amendment.

“Kind of take you through a trip through Iowa and talking to different people from different areas of government. Asking them for their take on what does it mean to be an American,” Vander Hart said.

Some people interviewed for the documentary include: Parkland shooting survivor Cameron Kastky, Iowa House Representative Heather Matson and Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg.

Moran said, “The biggest take away from this whole project was that if you just go out there and try something or if you go out here and ask the questions there will be answers and people will help you out.”

The documentary started as a school project in the students' A.P History class before submitting it to C-SPAN.

A record number of 6,318 students entered the competition from 48 states and Washington D.C.

Vander Hart said being an American to him means, “If you see something that you don’t agree with, if you see something you don’t like you have the power as an American citizen to be able to influence change.”

While Moran said, “What it means to be an American is to have the ability to stand up and to have the courage to share your voice about what you deeply believe in. Because, Americans can make change in this country and that’s what makes it so special to be here.”

The students will receive $3,000 for winning and said it will be split up evenly.

To see the winning documentary, click here.

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