Ryan Balmain wants to be a filmmaker. The Santa Teresa high school student spends much of his time in the broadcast journalism class at his school—that is when he is not watching and analyzing all his favorite films. The only problem Balmain has is that the school’s equipment is long outdated. Editing is done on old machines, and even the cameras are a generation or two past their prime.

So Balmain wrote an essay and submitted to the NBC Education Nation competition. He concluded his essay by saying that extra funding for the school’s broadcasting journalism school would mean, “Happy kids now and maybe happy trips to the cinema for you later.” It struck a chord. After all, who doesn’t want a happy trip to the cinema?

On Monday, Balmain and his classmates were notified that his essay had won. A news crew showed up with their cameras, and perhaps more importantly for the students, a check for $5,000. It’s much more than they could have hoped to raise by recycling cans and the other projects that they’ve done over the years.

In an impromptu interview, Balmain noted that kids like him, who aren’t into sports, need “another creative outlet” in school. Not only has he found the right outlet. He also helped to fund it.

Read More at NBC Bay Area.