You have to see this Lego video that won the Red Lion’s first student prize in a national competition.

Red Lion Area Junior High School student Logan Zabarkes recently won the grand prize in a national history competition with his stop-motion Lego video about Harry Truman.

The Windsor Borough teen discovered Project POTUS, a middle school program in Benjamin Harrison presidential website in Indianapolis, Indiana, through his social studies teacher, Troy Strayer. He told students they could create a one-minute video about a president and submit it to the competition to win a prize.

Zabarkes, who enjoys making films, said he thought, “Why not give it a try?”

Logan Zabarkes won the grand prize in the national history competition called Project POTUS.

He decided to create a stop-motion Lego video – he loves making them and has lots of Lego pieces – and he chose Truman as the subject. Zabarkes learned about the 33rd president, including his decision to drop the atomic bomb during World War II, during a leadership class he took in eighth grade.

“Harry Truman has kind of become my favorite president,” he said.

He added that Truman is not as well known as presidents like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.

Zabarkes studied Truman’s life and realized he had too much information to fit into a one-minute video. He had to choose the best facts.

“I actually think he spent more time refining his facts than building the Lego sets,” said his mother, Marsha Zabarkes.

It took him about a week to construct, film and edit the video.

Ultimately, it shed light on the president’s life, including how he became commander in chief upon the death of President Franklin Roosevelt and his efforts to protect other countries from communism.

More than 300 students from 18 states participated in the competition this year, according to Benjamin Harrison’s presidential website. A grand jury of historians and media professionals selects the winners and more than $5,000 in prizes have been awarded.

A still from Logan Zabarkes’ Lego stop motion video about Harry Truman.

Happy to win the Project POTUS grand prize

Zabarkes said he was playing a game with his sister when he received the email informing him he had won the grand prize.

He came down exclaiming, “Oh my God, mom, dad, I won!” He shared that he was happy.

“He was more excited than a normal 14-year-old could be,” his mother said.

News of his victory was shared throughout the school district and community.

The grand prize includes a $500 reward.

He plans to save half of it, perhaps for college, and he used some of the money to create a costume. He likes cosplay, his mother said. He is a great creator and he loves art. He has been making stop motion animations since the age of six.

Zabarkes, who will enter ninth grade this fall, said he is excited to take filmmaking classes in high school.

How to participate in the POTUS project

Students can enter the Project POTUS competition each year between Election Day and Presidents Day.

For more information, visit PresidentBenjaminHarrison.org.

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