Carson Collins – Winner, Best Essay On Film
Carson is a 15-year-old homeschooled freshman from Austin, Texas. He is a nationally competitive rower, racing in regattas across the country. As well as being a successful rower, he is also an assistant coach teaching introductory courses for teens and adults. When he is not studying, Carson enjoys reading, writing, and documentary filmmaking. Last year, he won the middle school division of C-SPAN’s national StudentCam documentary competition. Carson is also the leader for his Youth Bible Study at the church he attends, Austin Ridge. In his free time, Carson enjoys volunteering at the Central Texas Food Bank, amassing over 500 hours of time there over the last 4 years.
Watch Carson’s Winning Essay On Film
Our Interview With Carson
Was this the first time you entered the contest?
Yes, this was the first time I entered the contest.
How did you hear about the contest?
My sister had previously won the contest and my parents introduced me to the video division.
What inspired your work?
I love making documentaries and I’ve always wanted to use my hobby to share my passion for the Constitution. When I came across the Constituting America contest I thought it was a perfect opportunity.
What did you learn while creating your entry?
Not only did I learn about how the Constitution actually functions, but also how U.S. citizens’ rights are better protected than in other countries that do not have such a document.
How do you plan to spread the word this year to your peers about the importance of the U.S Constitution?
I love debating my peers in both of my government courses and generally am the only one defending constitutional opinions. I believe I have changed at least a few opinions. I also intend to keep creating and sharing videos related to the matter.
How do your friends respond to history or talking about the Constitution?
The majority of my friends do not particularly care about the Constitution in itself. Rather, they are more interested in interpreting the Constitution to maximize government size and use their knowledge of our founding documents to defend their own predisposed positions, and even then, few seem to seriously care. Many of my closest friends, however, do show serious interest in the Constitution and how it dictates our government.
What do you love about U.S. History and the forming of our government?
I love using U.S. history to form opinions about how our government functions. I believe we can learn so much from looking at our past and that this method of governing is neglected today more than ever.
Which U.S. historical site would you like to visit?
I’d love to revisit the Gettysburg battle site. I toured it when I was in elementary school, but I feel that I lacked enough knowledge of American history to truly understand why this battle, and the greater war, were and still are important. I’d love to have the opportunity to re-examine the significance of Gettysburg with my greater understanding of its history.
Which American historical figure is most influential/inspirational to you?
While there are a plethora of figures I look up to, by far the most inspirational to me is Desmond Doss. His courage serving in World War II unarmed, there only to save his fellow Americans shines as one of the bravest acts of the war. His unwavering valor is inspirational to me everyday.
Who is your greatest role model?
My entire life I’ve looked up to my grandfather as one of the greatest role models I could have been blessed with. After serving in the Air Force in Vietnam, he returned to San Antonio to teach computer aided design at community college. He’s always willing to help me with anything I need, he’s always respectful and outgoing to everyone he meets, and beyond anything else, he’s truly the kindest person I’ve ever met.
What in your life are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about working hard at whatever I do. Right now, that’s rowing and making documentaries.
How do you spend your free time?
In the few hours a week I can spare outside of schoolwork and rowing, I love to spend time with my friends, read non-fiction, and work on other videography projects.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like to join the military and earn a college degree.
If you could do one super impactful thing to help people, what would it be?
I would like to spread more about the Constitution in some new, innovative way. I’m not sure how, but I’d like to use platforms and strategies most influential to younger generations to help reach my peers.
Why is the Constitution relevant today?
The Constitution is one of the most important defense mechanisms to liberty and truth in the world. Without it, we are forlorn to the tyrannical impulses of human nature. Today, the Constitution is still as important, if not more important, as it was in 1776 when the Founding Fathers designed the blueprint for American freedom.
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