A statewide video competition has inspired local high school students to share the message that when it comes to underage drinking, most people are just saying “no.”
“We’re making a video,” said Mariana Latimer, 17. “It’s about alcohol prevention in teens.”
The inaugural contest through the Governor’s Office for Children and Families is being done to promote the fact that 86 percent of teenagers in Georgia have reported they don’t drink.
“So it is that positive message that not everybody’s doing it,” explained Judy Brownell, prevention coordinator with Center Point in Gainesville.
Teenagers across the state have been invited to submit a 30-second video short to tell their story about why they don’t drink.
The nonprofit Center Point youth center partnered with Gainesville High students to create and submit a video for the Reel Change GA video contest. The students are also part of the school’s Students Putting Extra Emphasis on Decisions group, which is part of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
Latimer was serving as both director and editor for the video.
“We’re going to take several pictures of people, like stop-motion video,” she explained. “Then, they’re going to show their shirts and pose a little bit, and walk out.”
The students wore brightly-colored shirts, each with a separate statement about alcohol prevention. Some were sassy, like one proclaiming, “I was so sober last weekend.”
Others were more informative, one shirt stating “Alcohol damages the teen brain.”
“(It’s) trying to help people to know about the awareness about how bad alcohol is in your life,” said Alexis Smith, 17. “It can mess up your future, and your future is everything.”
The winning video, which should be announced in April according to the contest website, will air in movie theaters across the state as well as on cable stations like MTV, TLC and ABC Family.
Win or lose, the video will be shown in Gainesville High classrooms. Brownell said it may be sent to other area high schools.
“We hope to win,” said 17-year-old Triston Wimpye. “It needs to be shown to everybody.
“After a while, if you just keep bringing (alcohol use) to their attention, it really turns things around,” he added. “It becomes a conversation.”
For more information about the video competition, visit www.reelchangega.com.