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PBS UNVEILS GRAND PRIZE WINNER AND RUNNERS-UP IN NATIONAL "BUILD YOUR OWN CAMPAIGN" ELECTION CHALLENGE

Fictional U.S. Presidential Candidate, "Warren Peece" From Glendale, Arizona, Triumphs in Contest -- His Campaign Team Wins Trip to Washington, D.C. in March

ALEXANDRIA, VA, February 15, 2001 - Five high school students from Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona, have won the grand prize for designing a fictional presidential campaign, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) announced today.

The students, who ran the campaign of fictional candidate "Warren Peece," made up one of 87 teams that participated in PBS' Build Your Own Campaign contest. This innovative national competition, a key component of the PBS Democracy Project Web site, called for high school students to complete a series of activities that actual campaign staffers accomplish during the course of a U.S. presidential election.

Students were asked to build a platform, prepare a budget, conduct a poll, investigate the work of past presidents, plan a campaign stop, and produce a television advertisement.

PBS recognized Mountain Ridge High School's achievement by featuring the team's campaign materials on pbs.org* and presenting the team with an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, for participation in the Close-Up Foundation's one-week civic education program. High school students from eight states competed for this prize, which was funded by a grant from the Mazda Foundation

Contestants' campaign materials were evaluated on content, originality and consistency. Winners were selected by a panel of award-winning teachers, representatives from the National Parent Teacher Association and the Arts Education Partnership, educational researchers, curriculum specialists and PBS station education colleagues from Thirteen/WNET New York and KNPB in Reno.

"We designed this contest to give students a chance to simulate a presidential campaign as they followed the course of the actual presidential campaigns," said Cari Ladd, PBS director for online education. "It is clear that by engaging in politics in a meaningful, exciting way, the student contestants have gained a better understanding of both the election and the democratic process."

Tammy Waller, the Mountain Ridge High School teacher who coached the winning team of high school seniors, said, "I really think that when the kids leave my classroom, they are going to take this experience with them. When they hear about politics and read about politics and it's their chance to become active and vote, I think that they are going to be active participants in today's society." Two of the other teams coached by Waller ? the teams supporting "Sharon Bradford" and "Isaac Quincy" ? made up the other two finalist teams chosen by PBS.

"Public broadcasting is proud to provide effective and innovative online learning environments like the Democracy Project Web site," said Peter Neal, Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) director of education. "CPB congratulates the class from Mountain Ridge High, along with the students and teachers from across America, who participated in Build Your Own Campaign."

"The Mazda Foundation commends all of the dedicated high school students around the country who participated in the PBS Online contest" said Charles Hughes, chairman of the Mazda Foundation and president and CEO of Mazda North American Operations. "In particular, we congratulate the winning team from Mountain Ridge High School, who created an outstanding online campaign site. We are especially pleased to see that President-elect Warren Peece took the time to speak with employees at the Big Components Auto Factory when he visited Anytown, USA, on the campaign trail."

The contest, presented as part of the PBS Democracy Project, provided distinctive and engaging local and national public affairs coverage, and encouraged expanded civic discourse and participation in the democratic process. The project was made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

PBS.org, PBS' award-winning site on the World Wide Web, produces high-quality Web programming as it pioneers the convergence of television and the Internet. PBS.org features more than 135,000 pages of content, as well as companion Web sites for more than 450 PBS programs and specials. In January 2000, Yahoo! put PBS.org at the top of its list of the best Web sites of all time.

PBS.org, PBS's award-winning site on the World Wide Web, produces high-quality Web programming as it pioneers the convergence of television and the Internet. PBS.org features more than 135,000 pages of content as well as companion Web sites for nearly 450 PBS programs and specials. In January 2000, Yahoo! put PBS.org at the top of its list of the best Web sites of all time.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 347 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org.

* Editorís Note: The Mountain Ridge High School campaign materials referenced on this page are no longer published on pbs.org. Visit www.pbs.org/elections to find recent election-related material.

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Carol Dufault
PBS
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Kevin Dando
PBS
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