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This South Forsyth High student's video tackling women's issues won an international competition
Women of Action Video 051719 web
South Forsyth High School senior Jade Christman's video, "Women of Action," won first place in the protecting human rights category of the eighth annual World of 7 Billion video contest. (YouTube)

A South Forsyth High School senior was recently a first-place winner for an international video competition on issues facing the planet.

Jade Christman was selected as the high school winner in the protecting human rights category of the eighth annual World of 7 Billion video contest, hosted by Population Connection.

Christman’s video, “Women of Action,” detailed issues with a growing population, particularly as it impacts women in developing nations told through a voiceover and drawings she made.

“I do tend to go a little above and beyond with all the projects that I get into, so I just ended up drawing for it because I just thought that was super interesting because I hadn’t really seen that done before from the example videos I watched, and I wanted to do something different,” Christman said.

Christman said she was encouraged to enter the project by teacher Christine Lauer as part of a class assignment but said she never expected to win.

“It was crazy,” she said. “I was in class, and just looked down at my email to see if I had anything school-related. I couldn’t even focus in class because I was just reading it and it was crazy. I immediately told my friends … I went to my AP teacher after class and she was over the world about it, super excited and just talking to the class currently about how we won.”

Part of the excitement was that Christman had already accepted that she wouldn’t get beyond a finalist.

“They said they would release the winner on a certain date, but it was also Easter weekend, so it was probably super busy and they didn’t get a chance to,” she said. “I didn’t receive an email, so I assumed I didn’t win, but a couple of days later I suddenly got an email that I got the first prize for human rights, and that was surprising and a really cool thing.”

The contest attracted entries from more than 5,500 middle and high school students from 23 countries, who created videos about protecting human rights, preserving biodiversity and sustainable resource use that were evaluated by a panel of 48 judges made up of educators, filmmakers and experts. Other winners came from India, Thailand and Singapore.

Christman is preparing to graduate at the end of the month and plans to study science – though she said she is still undecided on whether she wants to major in neuroscience, biomedical reengineering or chemistry – at Georgia State University Honors College.

Looking back on her class and project, Christman said she thinks it’s an important topic for all students.

“The project overall and taking that class made me realize how important these issues are,” Christman said. “I don’t think I’ve felt this way about any other class, but I feel like environmental science should be a mandatory class [with] how relevant and important it is currently. I knew it was a problem but not the grand expanse of how large a problem it was. So, I feel like a lot of us don’t realize what people go through in developing countries.

“That’s why I’m glad my video, even though it’s 60 seconds, introduces people to those issues.”