WASHINGTON (Feb. 23, 2015)—National Geographic Student Expeditions has announced the winners of its Your World in Focus video contest, which asked high school students to create videos showing how they’ve made an impact through community service work. The grand-prize winner is Xenia Viragh, 18, from Los Angeles. Her winning video highlighted the work of the Mandalay-LA program she founded in partnership with Phaung Daw Oo Monastic School in Myanmar. She has won a trip to Nepal this summer to participate in a National Geographic Student Expeditions community service program, along with a $500 grant for the Mandalay-LA project.
“The program’s cross-cultural exchange really benefits both sides and allows all students to broaden their worldview. It is crucial to share your experiences with those around you and to expand awareness in your own community,” said Viragh.
Madeline Goldberg, 18, from Avon, Connecticut, placed second for her video about the Hands on Hartford organization and the profound impact that service can have on one’s life. Her project will receive a $250 grant. Third place went to Katie Curran, 17, from Pocasset, Massachusetts, for her video on a civics and leadership program she created for middle school students. Her project will receive a $100 grant.
A National Geographic panel of judges evaluated the entries according to three criteria: how the project has made a positive impact locally or globally; the student’s level of involvement in the service effort; and the creativity and passion demonstrated through the submission video.
“We launched this contest to celebrate high schoolers around the country who are working hard to improve their communities, and the entries we received are as inspiring as they are varied. These students are finding creative ways to make a positive impact in the world, and we couldn’t be more excited to showcase their projects,” said Deb Harris, director of National Geographic Student Travel.
The winning videos may be viewed on the video contest page. The National Geographic Student Expedition in which Viragh will participate is a community service program based in an agricultural village in Nepal, which provides students with the opportunity to work alongside members of the local community. After spending time with villagers in Talmarang, the group will go on a mini-trek to a Buddhist monastery, support elephant conservation efforts in Chitwan National Park and explore the bustling city of Katmandu. The trip is one of National Geographic Student Expeditions’ high school programs, offering students summer adventures of a lifetime. With a variety of community service trips and expeditions, there are many ways for students to work with local communities around the world this summer — and students are invited to apply now. Learn more online at www.ngstudentexpeditions.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ngstudentexpeditions.
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National Geographic Travel is the travel arm of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, founded in 1888. National Geographic Travel creates authentic, meaningful and engaging travel experiences through National Geographic Traveler magazine; National Geographic Expeditions; National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World; travel books; maps; digital travel content; and travel photography programs. National Geographic Traveler (eight issues per year) is the world’s most widely read travel magazine and has 17 international editions. National Geographic Expeditions, the travel program of the Society, offers a variety of unique travel experiences led by top experts to more than 60 destinations across all seven continents. Travel opportunities include family and student expeditions, active adventures, private jet trips and voyages on the six expedition ships in the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet, as well as photography workshops, expeditions and seminars. The National Geographic Travel digital group, shares its inspiring and authoritative digital content such as trip ideas, photo galleries, blogs and apps with its @NatGeoTravel community of 6.5 million. National Geographic Travel books bring readers curated travel advice, photography and insider tips. Follow National Geographic Travel @NatGeoTravel on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.