John Waters look out. Sarah Dankelman, a third-grader at Villa Cresta Elementary School, has designs on becoming the next Hollywood movie-making sensation from the Baltimore area.
The energetic 8-year-old was bitten by the Hollywood bug when she won an International Student Media Festival film-making award alongwith some of her classmates at the Parkville school.
Last night, the students were guests of honor at a Parkville Veterans of Foreign Wars dinner celebrating their awards, which are sponsored by the Association for Educational Communications & Technology, a group of school media specialists and others.
The awards were announced Feb. 14 at the international festival in Orlando, Fla. Sarah and her classmateswon first prize for an animated film titled "Look Out Elephants." The students were second-graders when they made the film, which used an environmental theme of ivory poachers killing elephants before being stopped by a game warden.
"It was really fun to make," Sarah said. "The hardest part was getting the soundtrack to match."
Other Villa Cresta students won first place for a music video called "Nutrition Mission," in which third-graders played school administrators who were too tired to function because they had not eaten a nutritious breakfast.
The music video has a soundtrack written by the students, who are now fourth-graders. "We divided into the four food groups and each group made up a verse," said Katie Donovan, 10.
The Association for Educational Communications & Technology awards have been given out since1974, and through the years have drawn entries from Germany, Canada, Mexico and South America, said H. Fred Thomas II, the Cecil County public schools media specialist who sits on the national association's board of directors.
About 350 entries from elementary, middle, high school and college students competed this year. Students compete with others their age in categories including slide tapes, computer-generated graphics and
Villa Cresta has received awards at the festival before, but this is the first time it has won first place. And it's not often that a school wins two first-place awards. "That's pretty special," Mr. Thomas said.
Villa Cresta students also won seventh and 12th place.
The students have not rested on their laurels. Villa Cresta will enter the local competition Saturday at Pikesville Middle School.