Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

April 17, 2009

WATCH THE VIDEO: Starpoint sixth-grader appears on C-SPAN

Michael Pyskaty is interviewed about his award-winning video.

By Joe Olenick<br><a href="mailto:joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com">E-mail Joe</a>

Michael Pyskaty can see Delphi Thermal Systems from his house. Now everyone can see him on their computer.

The Starpoint Middle School sixth-grader was an interview guest Thursday morning during C-SPAN’s live viewer call-in program, “Washington Journal.” Pyskaty was awarded third prize for C-SPAN’s 2009 National StudentCam Video Competition.

In a taped interview with C-SPAN’s Meredith Rapp, Pyskaty was asked about his video entry, after a clip of his video was shown.

“I was kind of nervous,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”

The national competition, now in its fifth year, invited all middle school and high school students to produce a five- to eight-minute documentary focusing on the topic: “A message to the new president: What is the most urgent issue for the new president to address after taking office and why?” Pyskaty won for his video, “The Auto Industry's Ripple Effect,” a documentary about the auto industry, Delphi and the economy. He won $750 and had his video run on C-SPAN earlier this month.

Rapp asked Pyskaty a few questions about Delphi, such as if the layoffs and buyouts at Delphi had any affect on his family. Pyskaty said his family runs a produce stand that usually has a number of Delphi workers stop by. Recently, the stand has seen fewer Delphi employees. Rapp also asked Pyskaty if he could explain what a buyout is, or what he referred to it as an incentive to retire early.

“They’re trying to downsize their workforce,” Pyskaty said. “When they want them to leave, instead of just laying them off, they can take extra money.”

In Pyskaty’s video, he talks about the effect Delphi Thermal Systems’ hard times has had on the Lockport area. He talks to Mayor Michael Tucker, state Sen. George Maziarz and Starpoint Superintendent C. Douglas Whelan. The video includes some suggestions as to what could be done to help the auto industry. Both Pyskaty’s video and the C-SPAN interview can be found online. The video can be found at www.studentcam.org/winners09.htm and the interview is on the C-SPAN archive site, www.c-spanarchives.org.

“He did a great job,” Beth Pyskaty, Michael’s mother, said. “They used just about everything they asked him.”

The interview was taped three weeks ago in March. Originally, Pyskaty was supposed to be interviewed by video conference at the school at the associate principal’s desk. But the BOCES server the district is on went down minutes before Pyskaty was to be interviewed. Still, friends and family were able to see and hear Michael.

“A lot of people saw it,” he said.

C-SPAN said this year’s C-SPAN’s StudentCam competition generated a record number of entries. More than 1,900 students from 41 states, the District of Columbia and Guam submitted nearly 1,000 entries, marking a 300 percent increase from 2008. Some of the top issues students used for video ideas across the country were the economy, education, alternative energy, climate change and either the Iraq War, War on Terror or national security issues.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241.