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Student wins with History
Video by West senior takes first
A West Forsyth student this summer won a video contest connected to the History Channel's "America: The Story of Us." - photo by Submitted
While her peers were anticipating summer vacation, Katie Aubuchon used her last week of class in May to put together a history project.

Aubuchon brought a laptop to school and compiled a video essay on the American Civil Rights movement and its relation to Forsyth County.

This summer, the West Forsyth High School senior received a $2,500 first-place prize in the History Channel’s America Story of Us Student Video Contest.

The cable television channel offered the contest in conjunction with a 12-hour series, “America: The Story of Us,” which ran earlier this year.

Entries were judged on creativity, relevance to American history and use of primary source documents.

Aubuchon never expected to win, but Anita Perez-Studdard, the teacher who assigned the project, wasn’t as surprised.

“Katie gravitates to things that are creative,” she said. “She made a wonderful video.”

The five-minute presentation depicts chronological events in the Civil Rights movement, narrated by Aubuchon and set to an emotional song by the rock band Evanescence.

The video concludes with photographs and information about the 1987 civil rights march in Forsyth County, since the contest asked students to link their project to local history.

Aubuchon said the local march that made national news led her to pick civil rights from the contest’s list of topics.

While putting together the video, Aubuchon said she learned much more about the local context, as well as the big picture.

“When you’re researching it by yourself, you see some of the more minor things or you realize connections between things that you didn’t see before,” she said. “I think that was the best part.”

Aubuchon put her winnings from the contest into a college savings account.

The high school senior wants to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she plans to study international affairs.

At her current school, the video will live on. Her former Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher plans to show the clip to future students as an example of the assignment.

Perez-Studdard said she hopes Aubuchon’s win will inspire other students to apply to contests.

“They love it when they come back and they have $500,” she said, adding that academic contest wins look great on college applications.

The history teacher tries to bring in different projects whenever she can. This year, she’s encouraging students to enter essay contests, such as the upcoming Veterans of Foriegn Wars audio essay contest.

“You try to make assignments that are relevant to them and they see as important,” Perez-Studdard said. “When I can incorporate ideas, like with The History Channel, I’ll certainly do that.”