WILDWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) - An 8th-grader at Wildwood Middle School literally put everything she had into a song and video she produced for a national contest promoting bully-free schools.
13-year-old Ellie Bennett, daughter of Debbie and Dennis Bennett, produced the video “Break the Chain” after writing and recording the song and producing all of the artwork seen in the minute-long video.
She then submitted her entry to the national contest with the encouragement of Karen Schulz, her academic stretch teacher at WMS.
“I sometimes think that kids believe they can’t change the world,” Schulz told KMOX News. “And I tell them you don’t have to change the world. If you can touch just one life and make a difference to one person, then you’re life has been successful.”
Now all of that encouragment and all of Ellie’s talent and hard work have paid off.
Her video has been selected as one of seven national finalists, beating out 900 other entries to reach this point.
She’s already receiving accolades for her effort, even though she never expected things to progress this far.
“I had heard that high-schoolers were doing it, and high school film classes, so I didn’t really think I had a shot,” Ellie explained. “It’s amazing!”
Her video tells the story of a lonely girl who’s getting picked on at school, and another student who decides to break away from her pack of friends and stand beside the outsider in support.
“I made the right choice” flashes on the screen along with professional-looking handdrawn images Ellie created for her video.
She’ll try not to be too disappointed if she doesn’t win the online contest after making it this far.
“My song has, like, helped people or at least changed their point of view,” Ellie said. “I think that, in the long run, is really like winning.”
The video with the most votes wins.
Voting runs through next Monday, December 10th.
To see all the videos and cast a vote, go to: http://stopbullying.challenge.gov/submissions.