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UPDATED: Winners of "Why I Love ProCon.org" National Student Video Contest Announced

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A panel of prominent film celebrities and education leaders judged 1-2 minute student videos on the theme "Why I Love ProCon.org," and their seven lucky winners in the ProCon.org national student video contest were announced today.

First place ($400), second place ($200), and third place ($100) winners were selected in three categories: middle school (grades 6-8), high school (grades 9-12), and college/university (undergraduate and graduate) students. There were not enough eligible entries in the middle school category for 2nd or 3rd place winners. All winners receive ProCon.org merchandise for their schools.

All the winning videos are available on the ProCon.org website at: http://www.procon.org/view.background-resource.php?resourceID=005180

And the winners are…

Middle School
1st - James Piehl "ProCon.org Rules!"

High School
1st – Michael Ge "ProCon and Reliable Data"
2nd - Mark Morud "Life After ProCon"
3rdLandon Gerrits "untitled"

1stJohn William Leonard "Promoting Critical Thinking"
2ndEllen Chmielowski "Procon.org = A+ on my final papers"
3rdRyan Longley "Just Go ProCon It"

"Congratulations to the winners and thank you so much to our esteemed judges," said ProCon.org President Kamy Akhavan. "We are thrilled that so many people love the critical thinking and free education that ProCon.org has been providing since 2004."

ProCon.org, online at www.procon.org, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity that provides free and nonpartisan research on controversial issues. Teachers, librarians, and educators in over 3,500 schools in all 50 states and 53 countries have used ProCon.org content in their instructional materials.

[Correction: We originally mischaracterized Mark Morud's entry as a middle school entry when it was a high school entry. Based on the points awarded from the judges, Mark becomes the second place winner in the high school category. Landon, who we originally announced as the second place winner, becomes the third place winner. We also neglected to recognize Ryan Longley for winning third prize in the college/university category.]

Each of seven judges completed a scoring sheet, and all scores were combined to determine overall winners. The seven judges were (in alphabetical order):

Jeff Harris, CEO of the Junior Statesmen of America (JSA) Foundation, has directed 14 sessions of JSA summer schools at prestigious universities including Stanford, Princeton, and Georgetown. He's also a board member of the California Association of Student Councils. www.jsa.org

Gregory Mackenzie, President of Impatient Pictures, directed "Camille" (with James Franco and Sienna Miller) and "The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie" (with Gena Rowlands, Kevin Zegers, and James Caan). www.impatientpictures.com

Mike Marvin, Director, Producer, Writer, Actor on dozens of films, has film credits which include "Atlas Shrugged: Part I" (writer), "Hot Dog… The Movie" (producer and actor), and "The Wraith" (director) featuring Charlie Sheen, Nick Cassavetes, and Randy Quaid. IMDB profile: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0555549/

Whitney Novak, MBA, is the former COO and a current consultant at Mathnasium Learning Centers, the world's largest math tutoring company. She is Co-Owner of Kazoo Toys of Atlanta, and mom to a beautiful 6-month old daughter... who will be good at math in exchange for toys. www.mathnasium.com, www.kazootoys.com

Tod Oliver, Ph.D., MBA, Senior Leadership & Organizational Development Consultant at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is also a former National Learning Consultant for Cox Communications. www.jpl.nasa.gov

Ken Wheaton, MA, Managing Editor of Advertising Age, was born and raised in Opelousas, Louisiana, he now lives in Brooklyn and thinks your idea of what gumbo is, is probably completely wrong. He's also the author of The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival (2010). www.adage.com

Mark Youngren, Senior Artist at Industrial Light & Magic, has film credits which include: "Star Trek," "Transformers 2," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," and "Terminator Salvation." www.ilm.com

About Us
ProCon.org (online at www.procon.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity whose mission is promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship.  Information is presented on 47 different ProCon.org issue websites in subjects ranging from Obamacare, alternative energy, and medical marijuana to the death penalty, illegal immigration, and gay marriage.

ProCon.org websites are free of charge and require no registration.  The websites have been referenced by over 700 media entities, cited 36 times by the governments of 11 countries (including 21 US states and nine US federal agencies), and used by teachers, librarians, and educators in over 3,500 schools in 53 countries and all 50 US states.

ProCon.org had over 15 million unique readers in 2012 and more than 2 billion hits since its inception in 2004.

Media/Press Coverage of ProCon.org Includes
60 Minutes, ABC, Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, BBC, Bloomberg, Business Week, CBS News, CNN, CNBC, Contra Costa Times, Dallas Morning News, Esquire, Forbes, FOX News, The Guardian, Houston Chronicle, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Mother Jones, NBC, New England Journal of Medicine, New York Times, The Oregonian, Orlando Sentinel, PBS, Reuters, Slate, USA Today, Washington Post, Wired, and many others.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/procon.org

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/proconorg

Twitter: www.twitter.com/procon_org

YouTube: www.youtube.com/proconorg

CONTACT: Kambiz Akhavan, +1-310-587-1407

SOURCE ProCon.org

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