Lexington teen earns C-SPAN award for social justice documentary

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Against the backdrop of Eastside Technical Center’s television set, C-SPAN set the tone in a celebration of student excellence.

“We are here today because Zoey Washington has won third prize in this national documentary competition,” said C-SPAN education program senior specialist Pam McGorry.

Middle and high school students across the country were asked to produce a short documentary responding to the theme, “Looking forward while considering the past.”

11th grader Zoey Washington submitted a documentary called “Balancing the Scales: Race and the Criminal Justice System.”

“I wanna be an attorney and I take media arts and criminal justice at Eastside, so I wanted to integrate the two,” said Washington. “I decided to tackle the issue of race and the justice system and I wanted to look forward to the next 20 years and talk about the changes I want to see.”

At just 16 years old, Washington sat down with Commonwealth’s Attorney Kimberly Baird and Honorable Pamela Goodwine of the Kentucky Court of Appeals to tackle a complex issue.

“She had clearly done her research and asked hard and thought provoking questions. Very hard and thought provoking questions,” emphasized Baird.

The writing, editing, and finished product earned Washington a 3rd place spot in a national contest, $750 from C-SPAN, and lifelong mentorship from Baird and Goodwine.

“I am here for you throughout your career and your journey in whatever aspect that I can do to reach your goals, and yes you will become a judge someday,” said Goodwine.

Members of the Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives attended Washington’s award presentation. The lieutenant governor even sent in a video to say congratulations.

But just when Washington thought the pomp and circumstance were done, Devine Carama from the Mayor’s office made a special presentation.

“On behalf of Mayor Linda Gorton, do declare April 30, 2014, Zoey Washington Day in Lexington,” said Carama.

You can watch Washington’s documentary here.

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