Fourth graders at Prairie View Elementary School got star treatment after their video entry won the national Panasonic Kids Witness News video competition.

They placed in the top three, and six students, plus teacher Lori Painter, traveled to New York — all expenses paid — two weeks ago for the final competition.

“It’s one thing to win the top three in the United States, but to be the best in the United States just speaks volumes about what my kids are, and who they are, and what they’re capable of and what they think,” Painter said.

While in New York, the students toured a glassblowing shop, saw a Broadway show, toured the city and more, she said.

The 72 students wrote, shot, acted in, edited and produced a video for the Panasonic competition under guidance from Painter and two other fourth-grade teachers, Denise Blume and Beth Kuykendall.

On Friday, the students were treated to a limousine ride and red carpet treatment before a viewing the video with parents and teachers.

The video depicted a student who always comes in second place to his friend and is feeling pressure to come in first; they enter a footrace, and the first-place student pushes his brother with special needs in a wheelchair and they come in last, Painter said.

“The other student wins, but he realizes his goal of winning was not right,” she said. “It’s not about winning. It’s about doing your best.”

The story idea came from the student who actually does run with is brother in a wheelchair, Painter said.

“That’s what made it so good, is that it’s true,” she said, adding that the video was a valuable learning experience. “It validates who they are and what they do and shows that education isn’t always in the textbook.”

The students are now in the international competition, and Painter said they would find out the results this month.

Winning the national competition is something Painter said she had sworn to do before she retired.

“I would never retire until we won the big one, so I guess it’s OK to go now,” she said. “I think we were the youngest ones who have ever won it.

“It’s been such a privilege to witness such an outstanding achievement from my students.”

After she completes the school year, Painter said she will move to Dallas to be closer to her daughter and son-in-law, Kasey and Chris Rogers, but plans to spend plenty of time in Yukon with her son and daughter-in-law, Clayton and Kylee Painter, and their newborn son, Axton.


Story by:  Enid News & Eagle

Written by:  Sally Asher