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7th grader at Crystal Lake's Lundahl Middle School wins national contest

Lundahl Middle School seventh grader Colleen McSweeney (second from left) poses for a photo with science teacher Amanda Stone (far left) and her parents, Eugene and Kathleen McSweeney.
Lundahl Middle School seventh grader Colleen McSweeney (second from left) poses for a photo with science teacher Amanda Stone (far left) and her parents, Eugene and Kathleen McSweeney.

A Lundahl Middle School student was selected as one of the winners for a national “Protect Your Eyes” public service announcement contest.

Seventh grader Colleen McSweeney’s PSA was submitted by her seventh grade science teacher, Amanda Stone, as part of a class assignment during extended learning time.

The focus for the unit was research, reading, writing, creativity and critical thinking, according to Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47.

During the unit, students learned about PSAs and were charged with finding and sharing examples of PSAs, as well as analyzing their effectiveness. Students researched eye protection and health before creating storyboards for PSAs on the topic.

They peer-edited their storyboards using the contest’s grading rubric and made multiple drafts of their work before the final version was submitted to the contest by Stone.

The storyboards were graded on originality and creativity, the concept of protecting your eyes, the effectiveness and clarity of the message, and the quality of the writing.

The Protect Your Eyes PSA contest was open to students in sixth through 12th grade and hosted by ThinkAboutYourEyes.com. It also is supported by The Vision Council and WeAreTeachers.com.

Kimberley Moran, an education strategist/creative manager for WeAreTeachers.com, said in a statement that this was the first year for the contest, and 125 entries were submitted. Winners were selected by WeAreTeachers judges and announced on the WeAreTeachers website.

One winner in middle school and one winner in high school were chosen, and each will receive a college scholarship of $1,500, as well as a chance to have their PSAs made into a video for The Vision Council. The videos will be posted on the council’s website and on social media. 

McSweeney was recognized by the Lundahl student body at a recent assembly.

“Surprising Colleen at our assembly was such a special moment,” Stone said. “The students cheered and eagerly congratulated her. Her parents came out, and they were so proud.”

McSweeney said it was fun doing the research and finding facts for the PSA.

“It’s crazy how many parents don’t take their kids to the eye doctor and the problems that happen as a result of that,” she said.

In a news release, McSweeney said the contest has changed her mindset and has given her more confidence in school.

“I study harder now for tests because I know I can do well on them,” she said.

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