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Local Students Win Prizes in Statewide Film Competition

Eating healthy, anti-bullying, diversity, exercise and safety were a few of the topics high school students from across the state chose to share messages about making great choices.

Students from across the state took home $21,000 worth of prizes for their 30-second public service announcements filmed to share a positive message in the sixth annual Meijer Great Choices Student Film Festival.

 The 60 trophy winners and 18 award winners, selected from 280 entries, were invited to the festival recently at Celebration Cinema North.

The students submitted films promoting positive choices in the areas of Character Education, Healthy Lifestyles, and/or Celebrating Diversity. There are two different audiences that the A/V students targeted in their PSAs: Kindergarten through 6th, or 7th through 12th grades.

Local winners from Kent ISD included students from Byron Center Public Schools and Forest Hills Public Schools.

Actor Steven Ford, son of U.S. President GeraldR. Ford and native of East Grand Rapids, delivered a keynote speech at the event, saying it was perseverance that led him to success in his career. He has had roles in the soap opera “The Young and the Restless and movies including “When Harry Met Sally,” “Contact,” “Black Hawk Down.”

He told the young filmmakers he loves their craft and “so many creative little 30-second spots.”

“Storytelling is just a wonderful thing. It helps people re-think their lives,” he said.

The Meijer Great Choices Film Festival was designed for Michigan high school student filmmakers to exhibit their creative talent in audio/visual communications and to share their messages with K-12 schools throughout Michigan.

The festival was developed by staff at the Van Singel Fine Arts Center, in partnership with Meijer Inc., the Meijer Family Foundation, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, Chemical Bank, and Celebration Cinema North.

The 18 first-, second- and third-place winners received prizes of $2,000, $1,000, or $500 in the form of a gift card to Apple or Meijer. DVDs with the PSA’s will be sent to all schools in the state for their use.

Student Name


Video Name

Video Category


Aspen Comar, senior

Byron Center

Share the Flame

K-6 Building Character




No More Princes for me

K-6 Celebrating Diversity


Jessica Hofman, junior

Byron Center

The Lone Wolf

K-6 Celebrating Diversity


Erik Lauchie, junior

Forest Hills Northern


7-12 Celebrating Diversity


Dylan Malberg, junior

Forest Hills Northern


7-12 Healthy Lifestyles




A Child Lasts a Lifetime

7-12 Healthy Lifestyles


Max McCaffrey, senior

Forest Hills Eastern

Be a Friend Today

K-6 Building Character


Jordan Sperlik, senior

Byron Center

You’re You

K-6 Celebrating Diversity


Zachary Zawacki, Senior

Byron Center

Healthy Food Choices

K-6 Healthy Lifestyle




Visit the Meijer Great Choices website by clicking here

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


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