Carson Collins

Carson is a 16-year-old homeschooled sophomore from Austin, Texas and a dual-credit student at Austin Community College. He is a nationally competitive rower, racing in regattas across the country. In fact, Carson and his teammate are the current US Rowing Junior National champions in the Men’s U17 Double. When he is not rowing, Carson enjoys documentary filmmaking, debate, and chess. This past year, Carson accomplished one of his goals of battling the ferocious-looking sotol plant and completing a 50K ultra-marathon through the Texas Hill Country.

Watch Carson’s Winning PSA Below:


Our Interview With Carson

Was this the first time you entered the contest?
This was my second time to enter the contest; last year I was lucky enough to win the “Best Essay on Film” category.

How did you hear about the contest?
My sister competed and won a few years ago. When I learned about the PSA contest, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to practice my documentary filmmaking in a new, shorter format!

What inspired your work?
The amazing resources and learning materials from Constituting America, the Foundation for Economic Education, and dozens of other organizations committed to American liberty provided the basis, inspiration, and information I needed to provide. I’m extremely grateful for the work Constituting America does to teach the next generation about the most important documents in American history.

What did you learn while creating your entry?
I gained a new understanding of the deeper meaning of the U.S. Constitution. Researching, studying, and presenting this material has given me a wonderful opportunity to expand my knowledge of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. In addition, I learned how effective shorter videos can be to disseminate information quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

How do you plan to spread the word this year to your peers about the importance of the U.S Constitution?
I want to continue making videos like the Stronger Together PSA to further educate students in America about the U.S. Constitution. In addition to the increased engagement the medium of video can create, I think the short and to-the-point nature of the PSA is a fantastic way to spread the word about the importance of the U.S. Constitution.

How do your friends respond to history or talking about the Constitution?
Most are interested in learning about the Constitution, as long as it is presented in small doses, which is why I find the PSA format so effective. As long as our conversations are short and informative, most of my friends are more than willing to embrace learning about America’s founding documents and the people who wrote them.

What do you love about U.S History and the forming of our government?
I love that you can never learn it all, and no matter how much time you spend, there will always be people who know more about some topics. There’s always a new place to explore or a new historical figure to investigate, and there’s always someone who can help you expand your knowledge.

Which U.S. historical site would you like to visit?
I would love to spend time exploring and learning about the history of Boston. There are, of course, hundreds of monuments, memorials, and memories, but if I had to choose one, I would most like to visit the Granary Burying Ground. Although it may feel like a somber place—it’s where men like Samuel Adams & Paul Revere are buried—it is a solemn reminder that people of such a caliber will be remembered for centuries to come.

Which American historical figure is most influential/inspirational to you?
Abraham Lincoln is the most inspirational American historical figure to me. He, of course, led the American people through likely the most contentious period in our country’s history, laying the groundwork for the abolition of slavery. But I believe that his ability to communicate with the common people, even while debating complicated and contentious issues, was his most important skill. He was so influential in this regard he had one of the most popular debate formats—Lincoln-Douglas—named after a series of his debates.

Who is your greatest role model?
My greatest role model is my grandfather. After serving his country in Vietnam, he became a CAD professor. From always spending time to help me with math homework, to being my first inspiration to start playing chess, he has always provided a shining example for me to live up to. He’s truly the kindest man I’ve ever known.

What in your life are you most passionate about?
I’m most passionate about the American dream and the set of Judeo-Christian values that make such a dream possible.

How do you spend your free time?
Outside of school, I love spending time at church. In addition to this, I spent the majority of time at Texas Rowing Center, training for Youth Nationals in June. When I have the time, I love to read anything and everything about human anatomy, leadership, or whatever else has piqued my interest.

What are your plans for the future?
I would like to be appointed to the Naval academy and row for their men’s heavyweight crew team. After college, I would like to serve and defend the country that has done so much for me.

If you could do one super impactful thing to help people, what would it be?
I would like to spread the message to a wider audience that, in a culture so dismissive of American values, these values still hold true. One of the most crucial missions of this century, and one that Constituting America addresses, is reviving the American spirit that has made this country so great.

Why is the Constitution relevant today?
The Constitution is relevant today for the same reasons it was relevant almost two and a half centuries ago: it guarantees and protects the rights of the American people, constructs a fair and just government, and provides the basis of the American liberty that shines across the world.

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