Villa Grove Students Win Video Contest on Alcohol Awareness
A group of students from Villa Grove High school are doing their part to discourage underage drinking, earning top honors in the Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s (ILCC) statewide video public service announcement contest.
The students were recently honored during an assembly in which hundreds of their peers gathered with city and state officials for the first public viewing of the impactful 30-second video. The ceremony also served as the statewide kickoff for this spring’s “Your Actions Matters!” underage drinking awareness campaign.
In addition, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn honored the winning students and read a proclamation during the event.
Health teacher Noreen Acton led the students on their creative journey after hearing about the contest. “The goal of the project was to help us all realize the importance of underage drinking prevention, “ she said. “As a parent of a middle school child myself, my hope is that this student-driven project will ultimately help adults make more informed decisions in regards to allowing alcohol use by minors.”
Emmaline Cler, a sophomore who was part of the winning team, said, “We all enjoyed being involved in the creative process, but creating the video was also a valuable learning experience. It showed us how to change negative behavior with positive actions.” Fellow team member and sister Laura Cler, added, “We all hear parents say that kids just don’t listen to them, but oftentimes the reverse is true. If this video helps adults make better decisions, then we did our job.”
The public service announcement’s powerful visual message was enhanced and accompanied by an original score performed and written by fellow sophomore Brandon Hauserberger. The other winning students were sophomores Abby Marlar, Abby Miller, Isaiah Poe, Jay Whitney, Nicole Bolcabos, Aliyah Edwards and senior Brandon Lutrell. The video can be viewed by visiting www.youractionsmatter.org.
Georgia Hillard, program coordinator for I Sing the Body Electric at Sarah Bush Lincoln, also assisted the students with equipment and technical support. The Body Electric program incorporates the arts to inform adolescents on the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices.
The winning video will run on television stations throughout the state this fall thanks to an ILCC parental responsibility grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services and additional support prevention partners. The message is “pertinent to parents of all teens, particularly those at the younger age range,” ILCC Executive Director Gloria Materre said, noting that the grant specifically focuses on parents of eighth graders. “We want parents to start the conversation before their kids begin experimenting with alcohol.”
But the PSA is just as relevant for parent of older teens, especially with upcoming prom and graduation parties. “Villa Grove kids know that drinking and driving kills, and they have a lot to say to their generation about personal responsibility. This video will help them communicate with all ages throughout the entire state,” Villa Grove Superintendent and High School Principal, Dr. Mary Ann Manos, said.
The winning video was selected by a 15-member judging panel consisting of key stakeholders in the prevention field, at the local level, and in the liquor industry. “I was quite impressed by the quality and effectiveness of all the video submissions,” said judging panelist Nolan Burke of Burke Beverage. “It was quite difficult choosing just one winner, but we all believed the winning video would have the biggest impact on its audience.”