THE CHRISTOPHERS ANNOUNCE WINNERS OF

31st ANNUAL VIDEO CONTEST FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

 

 

NEW YORK, April 30, 2019 - Today, The Christophers announced the winners of their 31th Annual Video Contest for College Students in which entrants were asked to create a film or video that communicates the belief that one person can make a difference.

 

            Brandon Gosselin, an Oklahoma native and current student at Florida Atlantic University, took the top prize for his autobiographical film entitled “One Person Can Make a Difference: Never Give Up.” Against a compelling backdrop of both live and recreated footage, as well as seamlessly integrated photographs, this video chronicles three extraordinary years in the life of Brandon Gosselin, beginning in May 2013, when the young man graduated valedictorian and academic all-state basketball player, poised to attend the college of his dreams, namely the University of Oklahoma. Unfortunately, this was also the same year that Brandon endured an unfortunate accident, one that would irrevocably change his life forever.

 

            “May 25th, 2013,” Brandon recalls in a voiceover as reenacted scenes from this tragic event unfold. “My friends and I are camping out. We’re riding four wheelers in the dark, going 55 miles an hour, and out of nowhere, [came] a deer. I went over the front of the four wheeler, and I landed directly on my face.”

 

            “The entire left side of my face just busted wide open,” Gosselin remembers as the video cuts to show a picture of him in the hospital following his traumatic injury. “It almost looks like I lost my left eye, bleeding and bleeding out the side of my face…I am put into a three day, drug-induced coma, because…a blood vessel had burst by my basal ganglia.”

 

            “Your basal ganglia controls your voluntary movement, your cognitive capacity, your learning capabilities, your memory,” Brandon explains. “I was capable of dominating the basketball court, quoting Shakespeare, diagraming the molecular make-up of the chloro fluoro carbons. Now, I have the mental capacity of a third grader.”

 

            The next part of the film shows Gosselin struggling to relearn what once came as second nature to him. By October of the following year, he is a matriculating freshman, determined to get through midterms, but sadly, feeling like a failure.

 

            “Giving up is an option that’s offered at every single turn,” Brandon admits, “but there’s something inside of me that tells me not to give up. March 15th, 2014. Study, physical therapy, pray, repeat. Study, physical therapy, pray, repeat. I have a 4.0 GPA now.”

 

            Under the guidance of a spiritual hunch, Gosselin makes the surprising decision to transfer to Freed Hardeman, located 650 miles away from his hometown in Western Tennessee.

 

            “May 15th, 2016,” Brandon narrates. “I have been at Freed for a year and half. Since receiving the Jimmy Rane Foundation Scholarship, my world has expanded… I can’t play basketball like I used to, but my love of the game won’t let me go. And I’m proud to serve as my university’s boys’ basketball student assistant coach.”

 

            “I’ve served on the executive committee for student government,” Gosselin proudly concludes. “I’ve volunteered at a camp for traumatic brain injury survivors, and I’m on track to be the first in my family to graduate with a four year college degree. What I’ve found is that I’m able to go beyond what doctors thought I could do, what my family and friends ever dreamed I could do…With aspirations to create a self-sustaining economy in Haiti and traveling the nation as a motivational speaker, I am honored to be an example for overcoming hardship. The glory goes to God.”

 

            Our second prize winner also relates an inspiring personal tale, that of junior Hannah Kropp. A senior at Colorado University in Denver, Kropp suffers from CCHS (Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome). As Hannah clarifies in her video entitled “Bring Me Your Weary,” this simply means that her “brain stem” is unable to communicate to her “to breathe when she sleeps.” Hannah’s film, through in-depth interviews with the different people who have greatly impacted her life, from her own mother to her childhood doctor, conveys how living with a respiratory condition like CCHS can oftentimes serve to make you a stronger, more empathetic person.  

 

            “She’s overcome these odds,” Dr. Robin Deterding of Children’s Hospital in Chicago observes. “Anybody who’s met her [Hannah] knows she’s full of energy, and those are the kind of people I would bet on every single time. And I think that just kind of speaks to who she is. She’s resilient, she’s brave, she’s courageous.”

 

            “I’ve been living with this since I was nine months old, and I’ve had a trache for 12 years,” Kropp matter-of-factly states at the start of her video. “Growing up, going to the hospital constantly, doctor’s appointments…I turned it around to benefit me… Being around…other people, children and adults with disabilities made me feel like I wasn’t alone. When I was ten, I was an ambassador for Children’s Hospital for a year. That in itself inspired me to be a better person.”

           

             “Throughout my life, everything that I’ve set my eyes on, I’ve been super passionate, and I’ve been able to complete it,” Kropp concludes. “I want to complete it if I start it, and I would like to carry that…motto, throughout my life and my further education.”

Finally, California resident and sign language interpreter Desiree Kirst takes the third prize of $500 for her film entitled “See the Difference in My Hands.” Kirst narrates this video in addition to signing it for the benefit of the deaf and hard of hearing audiences. As pictures and video feed detailing her story flash across the screen, Desiree reveals her humble childhood beginnings, and how she and her two sisters all pursued careers in some form of service (her older sister in teaching, her younger sister in caregiving).

 

            “So why did I become a sign language interpreter?” Kirst cheerfully inquires and signs to the camera as photographed images appear, illustrating her work in pictures. “Because I’m there at their work when they’re getting that promotion. I’m at their school when they’re learning a new trade…I’m at the theatrical performance that they’re best friend is performing at…I am at the stage where their son gets their diploma.”

 

            “Sign language interpreters have a really unique role,” Desiree thoughtfully continues. “They enter situations they really should never be in…When I go into situations like that, I have to…show as much respect and honor as possible.”

 

            “I want to do more,” Kirst concludes, “so I’m going back to school to teach others in the deaf and hard of hearing community…I am one person who is making a difference.”

1st Prize

Brandon Gosselin
Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL
Major: Business Administration

“One Person Can Make A Difference: Never Give Up”

Link to video: 

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1zP2ky7bch7pR7joFdCjVBb9TGR-UziyH

 

2nd Prize

Hannah Kropp
Colorado University Denver in Denver, CO-
Major: Neuroscience

“Bring Me Your Weary”

Link to video: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiTLB77qvXg&t=3s

 

3rd Prize
Desiree Kirst

California State University-Northridge-Northridge, CA

Major: Deaf Studies-Specialized Concentration in Interpreter Training

“See the Difference in My Hands”

Link to video: 

https://youtu.be/6xKAE7CkX68   

Honorable mentions

1) Zach Powell

Full Sail University-Winter Park, FL 

Title of entry: “Focus on Positivity”

Link to video: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6LhT-uk928&t=5s

Major: Film Production

 

2) Daniella Espinoza 

Santa Barbara City College –Santa Barbara, CA

Title of entry: “Make a Change”

Link to video: 
https://vimeo.com/293058906

Major: Political Science

Music provided by for free by Bensound.com.

 

3) Gabe Hostetler

Azusa Pacific University College-Azusa, CA 

Title of Entry: “One Person can Make a Difference”

Link to video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIZkIE5OP1s&feature=youtu.be

Major: Film Production

 

4) Hally Rittmer

Kirkwood Community College-Cedar Rapids, IA 

Title of Entry: "The Youth are our Future"

Link to video: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgidyLOkWcU&t=9s

Major: Journalism and Advertising

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