A Hillsboro 8th grader will receive up to ten thousand dollars to help with the cost of a private school education in the first-ever Oregon School Choice Video Contest.

Cascade Policy Institute sponsored the contest, open to all Oregon families with children attending school grades K-12 Twenty finalists each received $250 prizes.

Hillsboro middle school student Tyleur Kotzian-Upshaw was selected the Grand Prize winner in a random drawing of the 20 finalists. By winning, she earned ten-thousand dollars for education expenses.

Kotzian-Upshaw attends a public school now and hopes to attend Portland’s Central Catholic High School in the fall. In her winning video, the teen expressed her strong desire for School Choice by setting a personal goal to attend Central Catholic. She explained that her family couldn’t afford to make that choice without help.

Winning the contest will allow Kotzian-Upshaw to pursue her dream of attending the southeast Portland High School as a freshman on track to graduate as a member of the class of 2013.

“Tyleur’s passion for School Choice was by no means unusual among the finalists. It was something we noticed in each winning video submission” according to Cascade Policy Institute Co-Founder Steve Buckstein.

School Choice, defined as giving families the opportunity to choose the public or private school their children attend, is the concept behind this unique video contest.

“The ten thousand dollar Grand Prize amount is especially significant because it is a conservative estimate for the average annual total expenditure per student in Oregon’s public schools” added Buckstein.

The contest, which drew entries from all parts of the state, asked students to produce up to two-minute videos on the theme of “School Choice changed my life” or “Why I need School Choice.” Parents were also eligible to enter the contest with video submissions on the theme of “School Choice changed my child’s life” or “How School Choice could change my child’s life.”

On Saturday, April 18 the twenty finalists gathered together to view the winning video contest entries and claim cash awards of $250 each. The Grand Prize of up to ten thousand dollars for K-12 educational expenses was then awarded in a random drawing among the finalists.

Cascade Policy Institute developed the Oregon School Choice Video Contest with the assistance of a generous grant from The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, founded in 1996 by the late Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman and his wife Rose. Rose Director Friedman grew up in Portland and attended Oregon public schools.

The origins of the foundation lie in Milton and Rose Friedman’s long-standing concern about the serious deficiencies in America’s elementary and secondary public schools. The best way to improve the quality of education, they believed, is to enable all parents to have a truly free choice of the schools that their children attend. The Friedman Foundation works to build upon this vision, clarify its meaning to the general public and amplify the national call for true education reform through School Choice.

The Cascade Policy Institute, founded in 1991, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research and educational organization that focuses on state and local issues in Oregon. Cascade’s mission is to develop and promote public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity.

View Tyleur’s winning video at:

View all twenty finalist’s videos at:

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