2016 Academic Expeditions “Hometown Tour Guide” Video Contest

When students go on their Academic Expedition to experience the landmarks, structures and historical figures that comprise our national history, one of our primary goals is that these students then begin to see their own lives, their homes, their schools, and their communities with equal reverence and curiosity.  While it's inspiring to visit famous tourist sites in their grandeur and give celebrity status to our national leaders past and present, there are millions of personal stories and events that play out across the country in quiet and humble ways that also deserve our attention. Each town has its people and places to highlight, and we want you to play the “hometown tour guide” for what you find most fascinating about your community.

Send us your video giving us a brief “tour” of your community and if we select your video to be featured on our website, we’ll reward you by discounting your trip price $200! 

As both an introduction of the Video Contest and an example of highlighting a local favorite, please watch Isaiah’s video below.

UPDATE:  We're happy to announce our first winner for the 2016 Video Contest.  Congratulations to Austin for giving us a great taste of his hometown of Noblesville, Indiana and earning a discount to his Washington DC trip coming up in May 2016.  Watch his video below.  This is an ongoing contest and we continue to welcome other student travelers to send us their videos!



How will my video be judged?

Your video must be between 1 and 3 minutes long.  It should begin with you speaking the following words (feel free to paraphrase):

“My name is (first name) and I’m from (hometown and state). Looking forward to going on my class trip with Academic Expeditions to (destination – for example: Washington DC, Williamsburg, New York) has caused me to consider what important sites and people are tour-worthy in my own community…”

Your video should showcase either a person (past or present) or a place that is significant to both you and your town. How you demonstrate that connection is up to you. More so than technical quality, we’re looking for personality, creativity, and emotion as you give us a little “tour” into your life back home.  Go film yourself at a site or multiple sites, sharing background information; try to speak naturally looking toward the camera rather than reading a script.  If you have fun making it, others will have fun watching it.

The best way to think of some examples is to think about the various things you’re excited to see on your upcoming Academic Expedition: memorials, government buildings, gravesites, churches, colleges, military and political figures, founders and inventors, museums, battlefields, parks and performance arts venues. Now try to imagine, if you were to try to highlight the equivalent of these things in your home town, what would it be?

What are the requirements for the contest?

To be eligible, you must be a middle or high school student 13 years or older who is already registered for a school trip with Academic Expeditions in 2016.

In the event that your video is selected as a winner, you must also be willing to be informally filmed and interviewed once you are on your Academic Expedition trip to highlight how your local story connects to a larger national story. You and your parent/guardian must grant us permission to publish your video and subsequent “on location” video on our website and/or social media. This permission is not required to submit a video, but will be required only after you have been selected as a winner, and must be received prior to being awarded the prize.

What do I win?

If your video meets the above expectations and we select it to be featured on our website, we will deduct $200 from your total trip cost.  If your trip has already been paid for in full, we will refund $200 to your account.

Can I make a group video and include my friends or family?

Certainly.  Be creative and recruit helpers to help you tell your story, or each other's stories.  Just keep in mind that the $200 discount will be rewarded per video, not per person in the video.

How do I submit a video?

You do not need to send us a file or hard copy, but can upload the video to your own Youtube channel.  Make the title of the video be "Academic Expeditions: Hometown Tour Guide" and ensure your video settings are set for public viewing.  Please email our Director of Education, Isaiah Mosteller at timosteller@academicexpeditions.com with a link to your video on Youtube. In the body of the email, write the following:

1. full name
2. school name
3. dates of your upcoming trip


What is the deadline for submission?

Deadline for submission is 30 days prior to the start of your trip, or by May 1, 2016, whichever comes first. Since students will be traveling with us at different dates, we will be selecting winners throughout the spring. We have not set an exact number of videos that we will accept as winners; depending the amount of the videos we receive, we plan to select several winners, but may choose even more if the stories we receive are too good to resist!

For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions for this contest. We will contact you for more information if your video is selected to be featured.

Happy Filming!


Watch below to see a playlist of some of the videos that resulted from our previous Video Contests:


Featured Staff
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Featured Staff

Tracy Hale, Tour Manager and Guide, completes her dream goal of running the Marine Corps Marathon.

Featured Travelers
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Featured Travelers

Come Explore Noblesville, Indiana: Featuring some of our travelers as Hometown Tour Guides

Featured Trips
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Featured Trips

Come explore the educational and scenic richness of our US National Parks in the American Southwest.

Featured Partners
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Featured Partners

After years of experience in student travel, we’ve created Discovery Expeditions for all types of travelers and destinations.


Access to your trip's information, registration, and itinerary is via a private link or Access Key entered below. If you do not have the link or Key, ask the leader of your group.