The teens at Richmond Senior High School are at it again — they’ve created another video and need the public to vote for them to win a cash prize for their club.
A couple of months ago, a group of students in Jennifer Byrd’s honors history class won enough money to create a start-up fund for a new class at the high school — one created by students, for students.
This time, members of the TRU (Tobacco Reality Unfiltered) club joined forces to create a video encouraging people not to smoke. The winning video will receive a $1,000 prize as part of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Video Contest: Tobacco — I’m Not Buying It.
The students are competing against 39 other videos.
“It’s likely that our club will lose its state funding, so the winnings will go into our club fund to help keep us going when we aren’t receiving any more money,” said Austin Andrews, a senior at RSHS. “Aside from that project, we’re working on other ideas that could help us sustain the club as well.”
Andrews said that, although he’s a senior who will be graduating soon, it’s important to him for the club to be able to stay at the school.
“My family smokes, and it’s an important issue to me,” he said. “I want other students to have the opportunity to be a part of this club, or be affected by the things this club does.”
Students in the club use funding for projects like creating posters and ad campaigns at the school. Once, they rented a cigarette butt costume and encouraged students to sign a petition asking the state to keep funding the program. They regularly travel to other schools for peer-to-peer education about the risks of smoking.
The group of teens: Dylan Gerald; Austin Andrews; Andrea Meneses; Laura Meneses; Dalton Gerald; Christine Ni; and Justin Ingram spent two days filming five scenes for the video. Vickie Defratt is the TRU advisor at RSHS.
Justin Ingram, a senior and a musician, composed the score for the video.
“We didn’t want to ruin our chances of winning by getting in trouble for copyright infringement,” said Ingram. “I play the piano, and I want to pursue music production so this was a great opportunity for me.”
Andrea Meneses, the videographer who also worked on the school’s previous winning video project, said the short film is about “choosing your destiny and making right choices.”
“The first scene is shot in an ambulance, and the actor has aged and is sick,” she said. “The other scenes are flashbacks of his life, and how cigarettes affected how his life turned out. The flashbacks start with the day someone offered him a cigarette and he accepted.”
To view the video, sign in to YouTube and search “Choose Your Own Destiny; Make the Right Decision” or go to the YouTube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXSwB92zni8.
To vote for the video, leave a positive comment about it on You Tube, beneath the video. To leave a comment, users must be logged in to a YouTube or Gmail account. There is no charge for setting up one of these accounts.
Voting ends on Monday at noon.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com