Red Bank Middle School students Sandra Paz, Teddy Mitchell and Josh Bruce talk to the media Thursday about their involvement in “eInstruction Is The Key,” a video they made for an international competition. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)


The Top 10 isn’t good enough for Red Bank Middle School anymore.

Over the last couple years, students have shown the nation they’ve got loads of talent with their rock operas and rap videos that have placed in the Top 10 in education contests. Their videos have won a nice amount of cash for the school district. But this year, the students are taking their talent international, and they have their eyes on a sweet technology makeover for the first place winner.

The middle school has entered its students’ video, “e-Instruction Is The Key,” into the third annual e-Instruction Interactive Classroom Makeover Competition, which draws talent from all over the world to compete for technology upgrades worth $30,000 at the winning school. After placing as finalists the last two years, the Red Bank’s faculty and students have high hopes and expectations for 2009.

“After looking at the competition, we think we have a good shot,” said Holcombe Hurd, the middle school’s music teacher who helped direct the project. “We’re very hopeful.”

The students can only go as far in the competition as the public will take them, however. The more votes they can get online from the community, the better their chances to earn the grand prize. The popular vote accounts for 30 percent of the total score, and voting for the finalists begins Nov. 17.

The video up for consideration is the result of about two weeks of work from more than 100 middle school students showcasing their musical, directorial and cinema skills. It opens up with a classroom full of dejected students falling asleep to “Another Boring Lesson,” as it says on the chalkboard, given by their humdrum teacher (Hurd). Then, when the technology fairy shows up with a box of unending electronics, the students break into song about how technology is a tool more conducive to their learning.

Making the video, Hurd said, was much more than a collaborative effort from the school’s different arts and technology departments. “It’s a whole family thing,” he said.

The students involved in the video, who range from sixth to eighth grade, share the same sentiment. Many of them put in overtime at school to get the video shot, edited and ready for submission.

“This was definitely a group project,” said Sandra Paz, a sixth grader. “We’re so proud of it.”

Now it’s the community’s turn to share that pride and submit their vote to help get the students to a place they haven’t been in this competition — first place.