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2023 High School Winners


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Grace Puma

Princess Anne High School Virginia Beach, VA

Grace Puma is in the 11th grade at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, VA. She was first introduced to the World of 8 Billion video contest in the 7th grade by her teacher and loved the process of researching and creating something all her own. Over time, she really got into making videos and wanted to come back to this contest because it meant a lot of her. Grace was drawn to the global topic of waste because she was interested in vertical farming, something that may be able to help feed a growing population. While doing her research she was surprised to learn about many challenges in the agriculture industry that we don’t often think about, for example, the treatment of livestock and the harmful effects of pesticides.

Grace focused a lot on the graphics that she used in her video because she only had 60 seconds to get her message across. She said that “the imagery had to be purposeful and provide more context and information beyond the words I was saying.” Beyond participating in the World of 8 Billion contest Grace has created longer documentary and experimental films, including The Witch of Pungo, which won first place at the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Film Festival in 2022. She may use some of her prize money to invest in a good microphone for voice-overs for future videos. She recommends that future contest participants take this contest as a learning opportunity and to look at many different types of subjects before creating a video. She advises to look at what you learned and think about how you could make that information relatable and interesting to an audience for the greatest impact.

Grace has a passion for film, poetry and art, and her dad is a big supporter of her interests. She also appreciates research projects that allow her to learn new things. Grace is a storyteller at heart, and she enjoys diving into projects where she can write or direct. She sees herself continuing to tell stories over the next few years and after she graduates high school.

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