Flushing girls make first-prize film
Flushing girls make first-prize film

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Photo Courtesy Saint Mel School

Fifth-graders (from left) Anna Fitzpatrick, Mabil Velis, Allison Galante, Elizabeth Sim and Isabelle Crombez made St. Mel School in Flushing proud when they won first prize for a digital film about an endangered sea turtle in the 2009 ThinkQuest NYC competition.Photo Courtesy Saint Mel School Fifth-graders (from left) Anna Fitzpatrick, Mabil Velis, Allison Galante, Elizabeth Sim and Isabelle Crombez made St. Mel School in Flushing proud when they won first prize for a digital film about an endangered sea turtle in the 2009 ThinkQuest NYC competition.

Students from Saint Mel School in Flushing took to the stage three times at the recent 2009 ThinkQuest NYC awards ceremony, including a first place win for the school’s digital movie, “The Life of Crush,” the story of an endangered loggerhead sea turtle.

Fifth-graders Anna Fitzpatrick, Mabil Velis, Allison Galante, Elizabeth Sim, Alicia Badea and Isabelle Crombez also won a second-place award for their web page for “The Amazing Story of Crush (An Endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtle).”

The awards ceremony was held at the Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center in Manhattan on Monday, June 9.

“I’m extremely proud,” said Julie Mansour, one of the faculty coaches at the school, located at 154-24 26th Avenue.

Mansour and fellow teacher Christina Cedrone have been coaching students in the competition for six years. This year, they worked with 71 students, made up into 14 teams, whose projects ranged from the environment and endangered animals, to historic sites and rock bands.

“This was a bunch of fifth grade girls making a movie for the first time, going up against high school and middle school kids, and they won,” she said.

The young movie producers were awarded with certificates, along with laptop computers and digital cameras.

Another team of seventh-graders won an honorable mention for their environmental entry, “Do You Drink Bottled Water?”

The participants in the voluntary program nevertheless took their projects to the entire school, by sponsoring events such as an “Endangered Day” fundraiser. They also initiated a program attempting to discourage the use of disposable water bottles within the school and selling reusable water bottles, according to Mansour.

ThinkQuest, created by media giant NBC Universal ThinkQuest, is an online learning platform “that enables teachers to integrate learning projects into their classroom curriculum and students to develop 21st century skills.”

It has a “project environment,” a competition space, an electronic library and a professional development program for educators.

City students submitted more than 300 web sites and 100 movies to the competition this year. Four projects from St. Mel reached the semi-final round.

The winning entries in the 2009 ThinkQuest New York City Digital Media Competition will be available for viewing on their web site, www.tqnyc.org, after June 30.