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DoDEA Pacific student Stella German named finalist in White House Student Film Festival

For Immediate Release — February 26, 2014 | Pacific
: Public Affairs Officer | 644-5657

SANTA RITA, GUAM — February 26, 2014 — With more than 2,000 nationwide entries in the first-ever White House Student Film Festival, McCool Elementary/Middle School fifth-grader Stella German overcame very long odds to be named a finalist and earn a special invitation to personally screen her film for White House officials on Friday.

Santa Rita, GUAM (video uploaded 13 Jan. 2014) — McCool Elementary/Middle
School fifth-grader Stella German wins a White House invitation to screen her film
“We will Raise a Ruckus Tonight” as a finalist in a nationwide competition that drew
more than 2,000 entries. German and her father will visit the White House
Feb. 28, 2014 to participate in the final round of competition. German’s
student film is available online:

“I am looking forward to meeting the President, Mrs. Obama and their kids. I also look forward to watching my video in the White House theater,” said German, who will fly to Washington DC to visit the White House in a special ceremony for the finalists.

This is the first year for the nationwide contest which ran from Nov. 25, 2013 to Jan. 29, 2014. The competition was open to all K-12 students in the U.S. including students attending Department of Defense schools located around the globe.

Student films could not exceed three minutes and had to answer specific and complex questions: “What’s your education story & how does technology and connectivity fit into how you learn at school or on your own? How do you imagine technology will change the educational experience for kids in the future?” Source:

Film entries were uploaded to YouTube and underwent an initial round of judging by a panel composed of White House staff members. Selected finalists, including German, have been invited to attend a special screening at the White House in Washington, DC. During the event, the panel will conduct a final round of judging and select top winners. The panel will use the following criteria to select the winners: creativity in expression of the theme; originality of the submission, and; technical quality of the final video product.

Student winners will receive a special certificate and their films will be featured on the White House web site, YouTube channel, Vimeo, and other official social media pages.


Santa Rita, GUAM (25 Feb. 2014) — McCool Elementary/Middle School Music Teacher Nicholas Trosclair and fifth-grader Stella German worked together on “We Will Raise a Ruckus Tonight,” a film selected by the White House as a finalist in the first-ever White House Film Festival (Released/Photo courtesy of Bernadette Schlueter. 

In reflecting on her selection as a finalist, German said, “I think that it is a great honor because there were over 2,000 students who entered this competition, and my film was selected to be viewed.”

While German did most of the work herself, she did receive some assistance from Music Teacher Nicholas Trosclair at McCool E/MS, including separate sessions to record the song and video. “This was new territory for us, so we had to get creative. The hard part was figuring out how to align the video with the audio,” said Trosclair, “After our two meetings during winter break, I transferred all the files for the music video to Stella's computer. Stella edited the actual music video [the final minute of the video] all by herself. I was blown away when I first saw it.”

Fusing music and technology is a powerful approach to learning according to German, “I really enjoy music and technology because music really cheers me up. Since I'm used to making music videos, I can use that skill to make projects in school.”

Trosclair agreed and said hands-on, active participation is more important than ever to how students learn today, “I feel as a teacher, I need to be sure not to get in the way of their potential … students need to be equipped with the skills to be imaginative and creative in order to use what we teach them in ways we can't even imagine today. I try to create an atmosphere that allows students to use their imagination and be creative.”

DoDEA provides a wide range of courses and extra-curricular opportunities in visual and performing arts across the Pacific including special intercultural exchange concerts and art exhibits, the Far East Honor Music Festival, Far East Jazz Festival, Far East Creative Expressions and the Far East Film and Entertainment Arts Festival.


Santa Rita, GUAM (21 Dec. 2013) — McCool Elementary/Middle School fifth-grader Stella German records a song during the making of a video for the White House Student Film Festival. Her film entitled “We Will Raise a Ruckus Tonight” was selected from among 2000 nationwide entries for the final round of competition at the White House on Feb. 28, 2014 (Released/Photo courtesy of Nicholas Trosclair.

DoDEA Pacific also provides a variety of free musical instruments and sophisticated, industry-standard recording equipment and software for all schools. The recording capabilities are used regularly by music teachers to help provide students prompt feedback on their musical performances for reflection, analysis and improvement.

Trosclair said such resources were not available in other school systems where he taught prior to joining DoDEA a year ago, “This project would not have been possible in those other school systems. We did not have the resources or the technology. I feel very grateful to work in a school system that provides students and teachers with the tools they need. Without these resources, we will never know what our kids are truly capable of. I hope this video shows adults what kids are capable of.”


Santa Rita, GUAM (8 Jan. 2014) — McCool Elementary/Middle School Music Teacher Nicholas Trosclair and fifth-grader Stella German work to synchronize audio and video during post-production editing of a short film for the White House Student Film Festival. The video entitled “We Will Raise a Ruckus Tonight” was selected from among 2000 nationwide entries for the final round of competition at the White House on Feb. 28, 2014 (Released/Photo courtesy of Nicholas Trosclair, click here for high-res version).

For her part, German is taking the exciting news in stride and remaining focused on the big picture, “I really want to be a doctor and also a professional singer, but I really need to study more math, science and other subjects so that I can be a doctor.”

Whatever the outcome of the final competition at the White House or her chosen future career path, German will have a very special highlight on her resume to treasure for years to come.


WASHINGTON DC (26 Feb. 2014) — The first-ever White House Student Film Festival drew more than 2,000 nationwide entries from K-12 schools including students attending DoD schools located around the globe. Additional information about the contest is available online:

About the White House Student Film Festival:

The White House Film Festival will feature official selections chosen from more than 2,000 student videos showcasing creative ways technology is currently being used in schools and innovative ideas about how technology should be part of their education in the future.

About DoDEA Pacific:

The first organized schools for the children of U.S. military personnel serving in the Pacific were established in 1946 during post-World War II reconstruction. Throughout the decades, DoD schools evolved to become a comprehensive and high-performing K-12 school system solely dedicated to educating the children of America’s heroes. Today, DoDEA Pacific’s 50 schools serve over 23,500 children of U.S. military and eligible DoD civilian personnel families stationed throughout the Pacific theater. The DoDEA Pacific teaching, administrative and school support team includes more than 3,400 full-time professionals. The schools are geographically organized into four districts: Guam, Japan, Okinawa and South Korea.

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DoDEA Pacific Public Affairs

Unit 35007
APO, AP 96376
DSN: 315-644-5657
From the States: 011-81-6117-44-5657

The initiates and manages DoDEA's communications and outreach efforts for the Pacific to include Guam, Japan, Okinawa, South Korea. The office is responsible for media relations, internal information programs and communication with students, parents, teachers, school administrators and the public.