A step for our Population
2nd Place



2015-2016 Middle School Winners

Public Health


By: Leilani Hyatt and Kayla MacPherson

Plaza Middle School, Virginia Beach, VA


Seventh graders Leilani Hyatt and Kayla MacPherson attend Plaza Middle School in Virginia Beach, VA. Creating their video was a project in their science class, and because of the work they put into creating an important message, they decided to enter the contest as a way of sharing their ideas. Within the public health category, the pair was inspired to focus on sanitation. Leilani’s mom and sister are both nurses providing care here in the US, but as Leilani said, “I knew there were people around the word that don’t have the products we have and I wanted to help those people.”

In order to make their video more appealing, the team decided to use a mixture of video clips, photos, and drawings. Leilani shared, with so many pieces it was difficult to make smooth transitions but they got the hang of it over time. As for the message, Kayla explained the “cake” (or tiered) structure of their solution – first, reaching very young children (the first tier), then youths like themselves (the second tier), and finally parents and adults (the top tier). She also shared that population growth had been covered in the class prior to their filming so they were able to build on that knowledge when making their video. “We’ll need to make changes to our lifestyles that may not be the easiest but in the end they will help,” Kayla said.

In her free time, Kayla enjoys acting, playing field hockey, and participates in forensics. Leilani enjoys traveling, skateboarding, and plays the violin. They haven’t completely decided on how to spend their prize money but Leilani did mention wanting to put some in savings and Kayla wants to thank her sister (who was filmed for the video) by taking her to Chuck E Cheese. The pair was quick to praise their science teacher, Ms. Jones, for her support and excitement throughout the contest.