Laurel Springs School Announces Winners of Homeschool Video Contest

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Contest reveals freedom, flexibility and independence as reasons to choose homeschooling.

Laurel Springs School, the leader in personalized distance learning education for K-12 students, today announced the winners of its first ever YouTube "Why Homeschool is Cool" video contest.

Hazel Newlevant, 15, of Portland, Oregon, an artistic and creative homeschool student, received the coveted grand prize title and $1,000 for her video entry entitled "What I like About Homeschooling." Hazel drew black and white illustrations that she brought to life with full animation. The video expresses that the world is a homeschool student's classroom, not a homeroom -- showing that homeschool students can read, paint and do science experiments outside with other homeschool students. Hazel also provided the background piano music, Edvard Greig's "Watchman's Song." View Hazel's video at

"I really enjoyed making my video. It was challenging, but I'm very happy with the end result. There are a lot of misconceptions about homeschooling, and I hope that my video, and all the other videos in the contest, will help people understand it better," said Newlevant.

Laurel Springs School asked homeschool students, aged 5-18, across the country to film creative and entertaining videos answering the question, "What's Cool about HomeSchool?" Each unique video submission explains why the individual chose homeshcooling over traditional school. Musicians, athletes, and designers who can't attend traditional school because of their hectic schedules, along with kids who just like homeschool, submitted videos.

Forty-one videos were entered and judged by a five-person panel, made up of homeschool parents and students, a homeschool website editor and a professional video blogger.

"I thought all of the kids did a fantastic job showing why they think homeschool is cool. These students are definitely creative and enjoy the freedom that homeschool allows," said Markus Sandy, a software developer, teacher and videoblogger, who served as a judge. "The freedom to learn was a resounding message the students portrayed in their videos."

Video submissions were judged in three age categories: ages 5-9, 10-13, 14-18. First and second place prizes were awarded in each category. First place winners received $250 and second place winners received $100 in each category. The winning videos for the age categories are as follows:

Ages 5-9:
First Place: "Homeschool Freedom" by Logan Gould, age 6. Logan's video is a slideshow of the activities he enjoys to do while being homeschooled - snorkeling, playing football and the drums, archery, skateboarding and going to museums. The video is accompanied by Logan's lip-synching a song about freedom.

Second Place: "What's Cool About Homeschool" by Ian Shaughnessy, age 7. Ian's video is a claymation he created of himself playing the piano and riding his bike.

View the winning videos for 5-9 year olds at:

Ages 10-13:
First Place: "y i homeschool" by Sam Mason, age 13. Sam's video was filmed while he's flying a small glider plane, one of his favorite things to do. Sam has been flying since he was a young child and becoming a pilot is his life-long dream. Homeschooling allows him the freedom to pursue his goal.

Second Place: "This is Why…Homeschool is Cool" by Matej Silecky, age 13. Matej's video shows his love for figure skating and also displays clips of the fun activities he does like snowboarding, skiing and racing go-carts. Homeschool makes his dream of being a professional figure skater a reality, all while achieving academic excellence, traveling the world and learning self-discipline.

View the winning videos for 10-13 year olds at:

Ages 14-18:
First Place: "Freedom" by Nick Marks-Paschal, age 17. Nick's video depicts his passion as a digital designer and founder of Metascape Studios, his digital design company that he started in 2005, all of which wouldn't have been possible in traditional school.

Second Place: "Diagnosis: Homeschooler" by Naresa Budd, age 16. This video is a skit with three actors telling the story of how a doctor vastly underestimates the versatility of homeschoolers. Homeschool has allowed the star of the video to obtain his pilot license, help build a school in Africa, get his band signed, and build his own car.

View the winning videos for 14-18 year olds at:

"This YouTube contest gave homeschoolers everywhere the opportunity to tell their unique story and show people why homeschooling is a creative, exciting, and realistic alternative to traditional education," said Marilyn Mosley-Gordanier, founder and president of Laurel Springs School. "We're so pleased with all the entries and would like to thank all the students who participated."

Visit to view all the winning videos and learn more about Laurel Springs School.

All video entries can be viewed at


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