I am currently the Technology department head at Garza High School (where I teach Filmmaking, Flash Animation, Multimedia, and Desktop Publishing), and I am happy to report that I had an overwhelmingly positive experience with the Superpal Universe Video Contest. Sara Hickman has created a program that is so obviously dedicated to giving kids an opportunity and an outlet for creativity; it’s truly a service. One of my students won the Superpal video contest on energy efficiency. Superpal not only gave her a fantastic new computer, but they also donated $2500 toward our department. One of the things I was able to purchase with the money was a new Canon HV20 camcorder for the students, which records in HD and is 24p-capable – amazing for high school students to be able to use! The students are loving it – the image-quality is beautiful, and it’s already my most requested camera. I was also able to buy a Digital SLR camera and several Photoshop training programs, which has made it possible for me to introduce two new courses: “Photoshop for Graphic Artists” and “Photoshop for Photographers.” These classes are easily my most popular courses, as there has always been a high interest in photography and Photoshop, but, until recently, we had nothing to offer them. It’s important that we give teens a place to be creative and the tools with which to execute their ideas, so this has been a big help. I also purchased two advanced Flash training programs and a 3D Animation training DVD. I haven’t introduced these new courses just yet, but I already have students who are interested, and I’m excited to see them begin to deepen their skill. Garza is a small high school – only 300 students – but we work with a high number of students who are considered “at-risk” for dropping out. I would just like to add that offering engaging, creative classes that are relevant to the students’ lives and interests is an important part of keeping them in school, so this money is actually making a real difference in kids’ lives. These classes improve students’ self esteem, and, in some cases, are the first time a student feels “good” at something. As a result, these students often improve their attendance and end up doing better in their other classes. Thank you, Superpal, for everything you’ve given us.