The Better Hour: A Documentary Film: THE BETTER HOUR: The Legacy of William Wilberforce
The Story of the Film
The Making of the Film
Buy the Book and DVD
Viewing the Film
High School Contest
The Book
Gatherings & Groups
Press Room
Contact The Better Hour


3468 registrations, Six finalists.
Kids who will change their world and ours.

Photos and Logos Available

Contest Details and FAQs

Download the Press Release [PDF]

Visit our Press Room

The Winners Are...

Congressman John Tanner (right) recently presented THE BETTER HOUR Teen Public Service national prize to Ellie Morse of Dickson in Tanner's Washington office. Ellie, who graduates from Dickson County High School May 23, was inspired by a documentary called "Invisible Children" to raise $10,000 to help children in war-torn Northern Uganda. Ellie is accompanied by her father, John (left).
(high-res version of photo here)

Ellie Morse on CBN's NewsWatch (May 20, 2008)
Click on the arrow to start the video.

Ellie Morse with Jay Hein, director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, in front of the White House.

Winners Announced

THE BETTER HOUR National High School Contest Honors Teen Leadership in Public Service

NEW YORK, NY. Six high-school students are being awarded for their philanthropic leadership from THE BETTER HOUR Contest for High School Students (, a national effort to stir service efforts among today's youth and honor the legacy of abolitionist and philanthropist William Wilberforce.

The winners are being honored by The Wilberforce Project, a division of Essentials in Education, with prizes ranging from $10,000 to $2,500, which were funded by the John Templeton Foundation ( whose charter highlights character education.

The year-long national contest encouraged high school students to launch public service projects, inspired by William Wilberforce, the British Parliamentarian who led the fight for the 1807 abolition of the slave trade and helped establish 67 philanthropies to fulfill what he called his "two great objects--the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners." Last year, the feature film "Amazing Grace" and the documentary film on national public television, "THE BETTER HOUR: The Legacy of William Wilberforce" helped restore Wilberforce's remarkable story and his rightful recognition in history.

THE BETTER HOUR Contest for High School Students is associated with the documentary film which airs nationally on public television, "THE BETTER HOUR: The Legacy of William Wilberforce," (Click here to buy the DVD) and the related study guide, "CREATING THE BETTER HOUR: Lessons from William Wilberforce," with foreword by Rick Warren. All information is at



THE BETTER HOUR Contest First Prize winner, Ellie Morse of Dickson High School in Dickson, Tennessee, will receive the $10,000 top prize and award, to be presented by her Congressional Representative John Tanner (D-8) in Washington, D.C. on May 20th. She wins the first prize for her public service to raise money for "Invisible Children," for whom she provided supplies to several schools in Northern Uganda, the war-torn area where children have been kidnapped and left without parents, hope, provision, or education. Ellie initiated creative events, fairs, and projects at her school, and engaged many people in her community, not only to raise money, but also to raise awareness of the plight of the forgotten children of Uganda.
Ellie Morse was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. She is seventeen years old and about to graduate high school. As a student, her main efforts are qualifying for the honors program, working with art, and learning about health occupations. Most of her time outside of school is spent on Invisible Children, church, homework, arts and crafts, and spending time with friends or her new puppy, Juno. She will be going to Lee University to pursue the call to be a missionary. She says her ultimate goal in life is "to decrease so He can increase."
Related Sites:

Second place winner, Ashley Eberhart of Culver Academy in Culver, Indiana, led an American Cancer Society "Relay" for Life. Ashley raised an unparalleled amount of money and brought divided sections of her small town together to unite for a cause that impacts one out of three Americans.


Ashley was born and raised in Illinois. She attends Culver Girls Academy in a college preparatory program. Ashley is looking at a couple of east coast schools where she plans to major in journalism or pediatric medicine. Her work with the American Cancer Society has driven her interest in activities that bring positive cultural change to those around her. In her spare time she rides horses on the equestrian team at school. She also enjoys photography and writing and has won many awards for her articles, stories, and essays. When Ashley is home, she her friends take over the kitchen the creating a wide range of culinary experiments. Her favorite pastry is the beignet.
Related Sites:

Third place winner, Riley Mulhern of Littleton High School in Englewood, Colorado, organized his Boy Scout troop to collect 1518 pairs of gently used shoes, which were shipped to orphans in Kenya and also supplied to the Denver Rescue Mission.

Riley was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, where he has lived in the same home for sixteen years. As a student at Littleton High School, he is involved in Student Council and Jazz band.  and runs cross country, and plays baseball. Other general hobbies include playing the guitar, mountain climbing and camping, rock climbing, and writing. He has  many goals in his life, some of which include obtaining a college degree and a masters degree, climbing all 54 mountains above 14,000 feet in Colorado, traveling the world extensively and becoming fluent in Spanish. Overall, although it is difficult to be specific at 16, his life goal is to live outside the safe and comfortable boundaries of society, and love unconditionally as a disciple of Jesus, the Christ.
Related Sites:

Fourth place winner, Sarasi Jayaratne of Potomac Falls High School in Potomac Falls, Virginia, form the Keep Reading Foundation and collected 2000 children's books which she shipped to impoverished children in Sri Lanka. Sarasi visited her Sri Lanka homeland, gave seminars to children about the value of reading, donated books to schools, and helped establish new libraries in areas which suffered devastation from the Tsunami.
Sarasi Jayaratne was born in Virginia, and raised in the neighboring suburban town Potomac Falls. Now as a senior in high school, Sarasi spends her days with close family and friends, reads classic novels, and participates in service projects after school. Some of her hobbies include playing the piano, soccer, painting, and photography. In the fall, Sarasi will be attending Cornell University and is planning to major in Biological Sciences. As a life goal, Sarasi hopes to become a pediatrician and treat children in underdeveloped countries that are in dire need of help.
Related Sites:

Fifth place winner, Greyson Gregory of Branford High School in Branford, Connecticut, established an innovative website -- -- as a free resource and internal portal that connects student volunteers to community service opportunities.


'Grey' was born in Toronto, Ontario finally settling in Branford, CT. he is a high honor roll student, captain of the varsity soccer team, a lacrosse team member, and an editor of my high school yearbook. His hobbies include web design, computer building, scuba diving and volunteering. Launching and running his web-based non-profit organization, with the help of his brothers Lyle and Kade, for the past four years has encouraged him to pursue an undergraduate engineering degree with a business minor at Lehigh University. He aspires to collaborate with engineering and business professionals to innovate and address national and global issues.


Related Sites:

A Special Award will be made to Children Helping Children, a nonprofit founded by Jourdan Urbach of Roslyn Heights, New York, in 1999 when he was seven years old. As a prodigy violinist, for many years Jourdan been cited for his efforts to raise money for national medical organizations, surgery scholarship funds for the disenfranchised, and home healthcare for those with advanced form of neurological disease.



Jourdan Urbach is a sixteen year old junior at Roslyn High School, NY and The Juilliard School Pre-College. He is a nationally acclaimed concert violinist who has garnered rave reviews from critics for his performances. Jourdan is the founder and director of the international musical charity, Children Helping Children, through which he fundraises for hospitals, cutting edge research and national medical organizations targeting neurological disease by performing Benefit Concerts for a Cure. Teen People Magazine as one of the "Twenty Teens Who Will Change the World." Jourdan plans to pursue a career in neurology and neuroscience and to spread the concept that medicine and music should be inextricable partners. He hopes to inspire a new generation of young musicians to use their artistic gifts to help fund medical research because it takes the ideals and energy of the young in tandem with the wisdom and experience of the old to raze the diseases of our time.
Related Sites:

Top of Page