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JASON Video “Defining Passion: The Waterman,” Wins Silver at the 2023 Telly Awards

ASHBURN, VA (June 12th, 2023)—JASON Learning is thrilled to announce that a short documentary, “Defining Passion: The Waterman,” made in partnership with Treehouse Dreams Films, has been named a Silver Winner for the 2023 Telly Awards. 

This recognition is a testament to the exceptional work of Les Owen, Director/Producer, and Debra Hill, Associate Producer, who have brought this inspiring story to life. The “Defining Passion” series is dedicated to telling stories about people who live passion-driven lives.

“At JASON, we believe in the power of storytelling to inspire students to pursue their passions and make a positive impact on the world. This award-winning video is a shining example of that belief, and we are proud to have been a part of it.”

Dr. Eleanor Smalley, President and CEO of JASON Learning

“Defining Passion: The Waterman” showcases a true role model, Mr. Peyton Mason, who was only 12 years old when he decided he wanted to be a waterman when he grew up. From that moment on, his passion for the life of a waterman only grew stronger. Despite the hard work and challenges facing people in the fishing industry, Peyton’s love and commitment to his career put him on a path of success and fulfillment. 

“While working with JASON Learning I have helped conduct many interviews with people who were selected to represent various industries and job training possibilities. Each interviewee is presented as a mentor to students who may be exploring various career opportunities. When Debra Hill and I met Peyton Mason, who represented an aspect of entrepreneurship in the fishing industry, we knew right away his enthusiasm, knowledge, deep love and reverence for being a waterman created a level of inspiration that was  special and infectious. We recognized what a unique and impactful story he had and we decided to share it with not only the JASON Learning community but a worldwide audience as well. Film festivals and other media industry participants, like the Telly Awards, are recognizing the significance and effectiveness of Peyton’s story and agree it’s something special and deserves that audience.”

Les Owen, Founder of Treehouse Dreams Films

Peyton’s passion and determination are truly inspiring, and we are proud to showcase his story in the “Pathways to Success: Seas of Opportunity” module that introduces students to a wide range of in-demand industries, such as aquaculture and seafood processing, in the Coastal Virginia region (GO Virginia Region 6). You can watch the film at

The Telly Awards are one of the most prestigious awards in the industry, and we are humbled to have our video recognized among the best of the best. This award demonstrates the importance of education in inspiring the next generation of leaders. For more information about the award, please visit this link:

We are grateful to Treehouse Dreams Films for their phenomenal work in producing this video and donating it to JASON Learning. Mr. Owen’s creativity, talent, and dedication have brought this story to life in a way that inspires and motivates us all to make a positive impact on the world. We look forward to continuing to work together to create more impactful videos.


About JASON Learning

JASON Learning is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit transforming science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education through real-world STEM curricula, project-based learning experiences for Pre-K-12 students, and high-quality professional development for teachers. JASON’s mission is to “inspire and educate students everywhere through real science and exploration.” To learn more about JASON, visit

JASON Media Contact: Jenna Davis,

About Treehouse Dreams Films

Treehouse Dreams Films is a Veteran owned video production company that strives for professional excellence in all areas of production to include shooting, lighting, audio production, writing, narration, music and editing. Over 20 years of award winning experience and a commitment to continuous growth and creativity allows Treehouse Dreams Films to offer unique and meaningful results for its associates and clients. To learn more about Treehouse Dreams Films, visit