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For 14-year-old Zachary Lawrence Piphus, the Census isn’t about the lofty goal of counting all 330+ million Americans. It’s about basketball courts, rec centers, and education.
The eighth-grader at Barack Obama Elementary in the Normandy Schools Collaborative submitted the winning entry in the local 2020 Census Video Competition. He shot it the black-and-white footage with his phone around a basketball court to drive home this message: “If you care about the community, you’ll fill out the Census.”
As he learned in researching the topic ahead of filming the video, federal dollars for education, social programs, and more are allocated using Census data, which is collected every 10 years. In addition, the count is used to determine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Communities like the 24:1 have been undercounted in past years, and therefore underfunded and underrepresented. For Zachary, the result of this can be seen each day. “The education we’re getting isn’t always where it needs to be,” he said while taking a break from playing basketball. “We really need more basketball courts and recreation centers. I made this video to help out the community.”
For his first-place win in the 2020 Census Video Competition, Zachary received a cash prize and public recognition at a ceremony in August.