2015 EduGuide Challenge Winners!

We at nonprofit EduGuide are very pleased to share our ten finalists and grand prize winner in the 2015 EduGuide Challenge: Drum Major Instinct. First (drum major drum roll, please), our grand prize, $1,000 scholarship winner:

Brian Ball is currently a junior at Gwinnett School of Math Science and Technology in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Our judging panel was moved both by his message and his music, which tell a timely and important story of the role he hopes to play in Black History, and how he will use his music and education to achieve that goal. Congratulations, Brian! Please contact to make arrangements to receive your scholarship.

We hope educators will use this video, along with our free, downloadable Remembering Dr. King Activity (pdf), to help more students begin to build their own core purposes. Research shows that core purpose is a critical noncognitive skill that helps young people overcome obstacles and achieve more — not just in class, but in life.

We also had a number of other compelling finalist submissions that will inspire you and your students. Each of these highly-motivated individuals will receive a $100 Amazon gift card:

Katianna Nardone, 12th grade
Mount Anthony Union High School, Bennington, Vermont

Eric Johnson, 12th grade
Animo Inglewood Charter High School, Inglewood, California

Jonathan Lustina, 9th grade
Southwest Career Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada

Phoebe Gamboa, 9th grade
Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada

Samantha Pfab, 11th grade
Dubuque Senior High School, Dubuque, Iowa

Veronica Gonzalez, 6th grade
McKinley Middle School, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Jomi Ajayi, 10th grade
Hightower High School, Misouri City, Texas

Ashley Pulkrabek, 11th grade
Taylor High School, Taylor, Texas

Kiana Qian, 9th grade
Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada

Amber Pearson, 12th grade
University High School, Orlando, Florida

Students, if your name is on this list, congratulations! Your video, along with Brian’s, may be used for EduGuide’s upcoming educational and promotional purposes, including in activities that help other students across the country to understand the importance of core purpose, education, and what they can achieve. Please email with your mailing address so she can get your gift card in the mail ASAP. If we don’t hear from you by March 31, 2015, we’ll give your award to the next runner-up.

We were humbled and moved by the quantity and quality of the more than 200 video entries we received in this contest. Our heart-felt thanks to all of you who submitted entries, or supported a student who did!

But why didn’t my video win?
All students who didn’t quite make the finalist list are officially considered runners-up, so congratulations on your effort and achievement! Choosing the ten finalists and one scholarship recipient from such an awesome pool of contestants was extremely difficult. A panel of seven judges evaluated each video based on these criteria:

  1. Did it answer all the prompts thoughtfully and effectively? Those were:
    a) What is your core purpose?
    b) How do you want to be remembered?
    c) How will you use your education to achieve that?
  1. Was the message communicated creatively? This could mean a well-written speech, unique idea or point of view, or strong oration, in addition to artistic skill or video production value.

Additionally, 1/5th of each student’s overall score came from a rating based on the number of online votes and Facebook likes they received.

Although many entries were high-quality, beautiful and inspirational, some missed the mark for this contest because they failed to articulate a core purpose or talk about how education would play a role in achieving that purpose. Others barely missed out because they didn’t have enough votes.

While your video may not have been an official winner in this contest, EduGuide will nonetheless consider using it to communicate different messages in future activities for students in our program. We very much admire your effort, and may extend future opportunities to any and all of you to participate with us in other parts of our work.

Thanks, again, for all your hard work and determination! All of you are an inspiration to all of us.


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