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June 18, 2014

Junior Folklorist Challenge Winners Announced

Courtesy of the ePals website

Courtesy of the ePals website

This year, the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage partnered with the education company ePals to develop its first joint  Junior Folklorist Challenge.

In an earlier blog, intern Maria Russell wrote about the partnership and contest, in which students worldwide ages eight to eighteen were encouraged to submit a video interview of themselves or a community member demonstrating a local tradition.

Winning entries flowed in from all over the world, including China, India, Italy, Canada, Turkey, Hungary and the United States and were judged by representatives from CFCH and ePals.

Thirteen outstanding entries were chosen out of the nearly one hundred submitted. Four of the winners come from China—an emphasis on outreach to Chinese students coincides with this year’s Folklife Festival program, China: Tradition and the Art of Living. Students interviewed tradition bearers ranging from a singer to a pasta maker to a priest. All of the entries are available for browsing  via an interactive map on the ePals site.

The judging may be over, but between now and June 22 readers can vote in the ePals Choice Awards. A list of finalists is posted on the ePals website, and the grand-prize winning entry will be published by the Smithsonian. Simply click the vote button next to your favorite project to participate.

This first year of the challenge was a success far beyond the expectations of its founders, who look forward to continuing and expanding the contest next year and in years to come.  They would like to thank the judges and the hard-working ePals team who made the Junior Folklorist Challenge a reality.

Betty Belanus is a folklorist, curator, and education specialist at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.  She enjoyed being a member of the ePals Junior Folklorist Challenge team this year and looks forward to next year’s challenge.

Meg Boeni, a media intern at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and a journalism and Spanish student at Boston University, contributed to this post. 

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