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NEW YORK, May 12th, 2022 - Today, The Christophers announces the winners of their 34th 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. This year’s contest drew close to 100 entries from colleges all across the United States. Tony Rossi, The Christophers’ Director of Communications, and Sarah E. Holinski, The Christophers’ Youth Coordinator, noted, “As our nation continues to recover from the isolation and the long-term side effects of the worldwide pandemic, our winning videos truly demonstrate to great effect how making a difference may just start with one person, but there is no telling how many people their efforts will change for the better. This year’s prize-winning films showcase some truly remarkable individuals, who, despite both personal and outside circumstances beyond their control, have managed to rise above even the most insurmountable of obstacles to achieve their respective goals in life.”

            An example of one such remarkable individual is most certainly first prize winner Ella Stone, a 16-year-old math major at Southern New Hampshire University. In her film aptly named, “One Person Can Make an Exponential Impact,” Stone recalled how even as early as second grade, her teachers knew she was advanced academically, and would often ask her to assist fellow classmates with their schoolwork.

            “No one could have known the impact that this would have,” Stone mused in a voiceover as corresponding images and video footage play across the screen, visually depicting her personal journey. “During high school, I earned 88 college credits, and [currently] have a 4.0 college GPA... Longing to teach upper-level mathematics and run my non-profit tutoring organization, I will earn my Bachelor’s in Mathematics by 17, and my Master’s in Teaching at 19…I pursue my passions while pouring into others.”

            “Although lofty accomplishments at my age make me stand out, my compassion is my most distinguishing characteristic,” Ella continued. “…God’s love for me compels me to love others…Although I regularly volunteer, COVID-19 changed things. During the pandemic, schools closed, forcing students online. While many struggled, hit hardest were refugee students.”

            “As the director of Student Outreach and Engagement,” Stone added, “I use translation software to promote tutoring events in 12 languages, and volunteer at least 7 hours each week…After researching opportunities, I approached students who, like myself, are pursuing a congressional medal. We began virtually tutoring. With 32 volunteer tutors, we have served over 2,500 hours, helping hundreds of refugee students in 36 schools. During these unprecedented times, I love assisting these underserved populations.”

            “Socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity should not be barriers to quality education,” Ella concluded, “…Since education can unlock countless doors, I am rigorously pursuing my education and helping to educate others… Tutoring refugee students is a humbling opportunity to use my gifts…and I am grateful for the technologies that allow me to connect with my students.”

            Second prize winner and Westfield State University communications major Aidan O’Neill similarly uses his gifts to help people who face a different kind of barrier in their everyday lives, as he describes in his film, “One Person-Big Difference.” O’Neil’s video centers on his involvement with the Special Olympics in the “Greater Springfield area” of his Massachusetts hometown.

            “Ever since I was a freshman in high school,” Aidan recalled as pictures of his volunteer experience play across the screen, affirming his words, “I have worked alongside many members of my family and friends in the Greater Springfield Special Olympics group…Special Olympics, for those who may not know, is a sports organization that provides opportunities for children and adults that suffer from mental or physical disabilities. The institution allows these people who wish to play numerous sports an equal opportunity and support...I support the team as a unified athlete—an athlete who gives support and guidance to the others, as well as competing alongside them in the same sport.”

            “The decision I made to be a part of this group, to gain new experiences around those who may seem different from others,” O’Neil noted, “help[ed] me realize they are all the same in their hearts, their talent, and their enjoyment, in success and accomplishment of victory in sports. With all the time I’ve spent with this group, I believe with the support and care I’ve given to the Greater Springfield team, to my favorite athletes and buddies I’ve made, I have made a difference for the better. Anyone can do the same. Anyone can impact others.”

            In her third prize winning video entitled “Kindness Makes a Difference,” Noell Komar chooses to depict, in a simple but poignant way, just how much even the smallest gesture of goodwill can have a positive impact on someone who truly neelds it. Komar, a film major at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ, opens her film with black and white video footage highlighting different young people struggling during their daily routines at college (i.e. a young man sitting alone in the cafeteria with nothing to eat, another young boy dropping his books and papers all over the ground, a young woman holding her head sadly while sitting alone at her desk). From a distance, several different students observe these people in need. As soon as each youngster makes the decision to help their respective peers, the video switches to a colorized format, and the instrumental background music subsequently picks up tempo as well. Noell’s short video ends with a quote from Seneca written across a black screen that reads: “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”

             Truly wise and fitting words for us all to live by and remember as we work to continue to light our own candles, as Father Keller always maintained, rather than cursing the darkness.

1st Prize Winner:

Ella Stone

Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH

Major: Mathematics

Title of Entry: “One Person Can Make An Exponential Impact”

Link to Video:


2nd Prize Winner:

Aidan O'Neil

Westfield State University in Westfield, MA

Major: Communications

Title of Entry: “One Person - Big Difference”

Link to Video:


3rd Prize Winner:

Noell Komar

Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ

Major: Film

Title of Entry: “Kindness Makes a Difference

Link to Video:


Honorable Mentions

Jelizza Lupi

Washington State University in Vancouver, WA

Major: Biology/Biological Sciences

Title of Entry: “My Journey”

Link to Video:


Napualani Yasuda

Chaminade University of Honolulu in Honolulu, HI

Major: Counseling/Psychology

Title of Entry: “From Loss to Meaning”

Link to Video:

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