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High school seniors win national documentary competition

GRIMES - Two high school seniors beat out thousands of students from around the country in a documentary competition.

Tyler Cooney and Adam Koch aren't strangers to C-SPAN's national student documentary contest. They placed high in last years competition and decided to enter again in 2018 in hopes of winning.

"Last year we got that second prize and this year we sat down and said let's shoot a little bit higher, so we kinda had that go big or go home motto," said Cooney.

And that attitude worked out well for the Dallas Center-Grimes seniors. Their video beat thousands of other documentaries created by students from around the nation.

It was just a regular day at school when they were given the good news.

"We actually got pulled out of class so it was us and two teachers, and one of the teachers started crying," said Cooney.

Tyler and Adam say they spent several months creating the video, which focuses on the 26th amendment. 

"The contest topic was the constitution, we had to choose a provision of it, whichever we thought was the most important so we said hey were are 18-year-olds, or going to be 18-year-olds so we get to vote in this next upcoming election," said Koch.

And they got to interview some of Iowa's most prominent lawmakers. 

"We would text back and forth and say hey you know I've got 5-7 questions, what should they be," said Cooney.

Tyler and Adam are the first in Iowa to ever be crowned the grand prize winners of this competition. They say the win feels good, but the experience was even better.

"At the end of the day, the educational value we were able to get and put out into the community definitely outweighed the couple class periods we missed," said Koch.

"And there is definitely a fun aspect to it as well, it wasn't quite as drab, we got to go to the capital and talk to some really cool people," said Cooney.

As they wait for their $5,000 cash prize, which they say is going to their college funds, Tyler and Adam remember the reason they created this video in the first place, so young Iowans remember to....

"Go vote!"

If you want to see Tyler and Adam's full documentary it will air on C-SPAN throughout the day on Sunday, April 22nd.

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