PHOENIXVILLE, PA — Leah Kerry and Ashley Yang, two seniors from Phoenixville Area School District, have represented Chester County at the state level since middle school by competing in the Pennsylvania Media & Design Competition.
The pair achieved a victory in 2018 after winning the National Championship for Middle School STEM Animation with a piece titled “Illegal Logging.” Their winning project was an informative video that reported on the issue of illegally cut wood and how it impacts animals, the economy and indigenous populations.
In 2021, Kerry and Yang placed first at the state competition with an animation demonstrating the effects of pesticides on bees. The three-minute video features remarkable 2D animation with intricate moving backgrounds and includes scientific narration explaining the topic all the way down to the cellular level.
This May, the duo achieved yet another victory by achieving first place in the 2022 Pennsylvania Media & Design Competition. Their submission, entitled, “The Hidden World of Bioluminescence,” features cleaner animation and more refined artwork than their past projects. This video breaks down the science of bioluminescence, a source of light produced by organisms in nature, and discusses how it may be used to benefit humanity in the future. Kerry and Yang took home a cash award for their victory. The Pennsylvania Media & Design competition, which is in its 23rd year, was held on May 24 for high school students and May 25 for middle school students.
Diane Thomson, a program development and support coordinator at the Chester County Intermediate Unit, spoke about the programs that help elevate students. “The CCIU student competition and enrichment program provides opportunities for students to pursue their passion and demonstrate their skills at every level,” Thomson said. When asked how the CCIU helps students to achieve their goals, she explained that “these opportunities provide a platform for students to hone their skills and demonstrate their abilities, which can be very rewarding and build confidence. Students often discover talents that can lead to pursuing a specific career pathway.”
Kerry’s mother, Erin Kerry, attended the event. “The time flew by so quickly, but I know they will move on to even more wonderful things,” she said, reminiscing on the past six years she has witnessed the girls hone their skills.
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