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December 10, 2023

Local student is finalist in special districts video contest

Joseph Carroll attends Sobrato High School

A Sobrato High School student is in the running to win a scholarship prize for a video that aims to educate voters about special districts.

Joseph Carroll, of Morgan Hill, is one of five finalists in a statewide video contest—sponsored by Districts Make The Difference—that is intended to promote civic engagement with special districts that provide water, fire protection, parks and other services in California.

Winners will receive $3,500 in scholarship prizes. An additional $1,500 will be awarded to their teachers to support distance learning and other classroom needs, reads a press release from the California Special Districts Association.

Students competing in the video contest were challenged to create a video of less than 90 seconds that would raise awareness of the special districts that serve communities and regions across the state.

“Special districts are local governments created by the people of a community to deliver specialized services essential to their health, safety, economy and well-being,” Carroll narrates in his video.

Examples of special districts in the Bay Area include Valley Water, Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. Special districts “serve urban, suburban, rural and agricultural regions of the country,” Carroll’s video explains. “Their expertise allows districts to respond to a rapidly changing world and to new technologies quickly.”

There are currently more than 2,000 special districts in California, ranging widely in size.

The winner of the statewide contest will be decided by a vote of online viewers of the five finalists’ videos. All five final videos are posted at, where viewers can also vote for their favorite. Votes must be submitted by Nov. 2.

Other finalists in the contest are Michelle Ye of Diamond Bar, Reyna Carrera of Corcoran, Brianna Wong of Monterey Park and Bill Chen of Spring Valley.

“Not only did this year’s students once again demonstrate their creativity and talent, but also their resilience to produce and submit such impressive videos as we continue to confront the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Neil McCormick, Chief Executive Officer of the California Special Districts Association. “I would not be surprised to see some of these aspiring students one day leading their community as a manager or board member of a water, fire protection, parks, or other special district.”

Initial entries in the video contest were scored based on four criteria: accuracy and effectiveness, creativity and originality, production quality and entertainment value, according to the press release.

Watch Carroll’s video on California special districts:

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