JAY — Some Chumuckla Elementary students recently received national recognition for a patriotic video they created.

The WoodmenLife Company announced the winners of its "America is ..." national video contest, with third place going to Chumuckla Elementary School.

"The contest was open to all elementary school teachers, principals, other staff members and school-affiliated organizations," said Kerry Heinrich, WoodmenLife director of marketing and communication.

The contest — which drew 25 entries — is aimed at getting elementary school students excited about history and to have pride in their school, community and country.

Students had to create a 30 to 60 second video on the topic "What America Means to Me."

The class picked these words to describe what their America means to them:

Land of the free
Home of the brave

As a narrator speaks these words, video clips give the viewer a representation of what the descriptors mean to these children. The video is patriotic and emotional.

The winners were chosen by popular vote on WoodmenLife's Facebook page.

First place and $2,500 went to a Brighton Elementary School in Brighton, Tennessee. Second place and $1,500 was awarded to Homer Elementary School in Ada, Oklahoma.

Chumuckla finished third, which didn't have a monetary prize. However, the school did receive the "Patriotic Prize Pack," an assortment of flag items.

“We are delighted that students from all over the nation demonstrated their creativity and enthusiasm for what America means to them. The video entries did a great job of expressing patriotism and the many reasons why we celebrate, love and support our country,” said Patrick L. Dees, WoodmenLife President and CEO.

A formal presentation at the school is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. May 22, said Chris Hearn, the teacher that guided the team.

Hearn is in his first year of teaching after retiring from the Marine Corp. He has a casual and engaging approach with his critical thinking class. Around his classroom are books, robotics, military uniforms, drones, an electric guitar — anything to stimulate thinking.

"I want them to think outside the box," Hearn said.

Hearn was not surprised his class entered the contest, even with his students' limited video experience.

"We used a multitude of technology," he said.

That translated into the class using any type of recording devices they could find.

Hearn said he was proud of his students coming together and working in the areas that best suited their interests and abilities. Some were good at picking shot locations, others with production and directing.

“It was good, fun work,” said student Lynzie Cutaio.

Hearn said they would enter the contest again next year.

For more information and to watch the winning videos, visit Facebook.com/WoodmenLife.