Underage Drinking Targeted By NJ Contest [VIDEO]
The sixth annual "Proms and Alcohol Don't Mix" public service announcement contest is underway for every New Jersey high school. Prom season may be months from now, but state officials say the PSA contest can provide an advanced warning to senior students about the dangers they face on prom night.
Students are being asked to work in teams and develop scripts for a public service announcement that spotlights the risks involved when one mixes prom with alcohol. A letter promoting the contest has been sent to every high school principal in the state.
"Proms are wonderful celebrations and momentous milestones - milestones that should be looked back upon with only the happiest memories," said Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa. "But we know that the bad decision to drink alcohol on prom night can have devastating effects on a teen's future. We want students to enjoy a healthy and safe prom season, and my hope is that this contest will help students focus on the dangers of alcohol."
The contest is a product of the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Director Michael Halfacre said underage drinking is a prevalent problem throughout New Jersey.
"Not a week goes by here in New Jersey where we don't hear of alcohol and teenagers combining for potentially-lethal circumstances," said Halfacre.
An added benefit of the contest, according to Halfacre, is the fact that the message is delivered by teens, to teens.
He added, "We've found that young people can be best educated when they're engaged by their peers. We believe this sparks a peer-to-peer dialogue of what consequences come when you drink underage."
One winning PSA script will be professionally produced and distributed for broadcast on local television stations, just in time for prom season. Senior students from the winning school can also appear in the final video. Any students who participate will be invited to a special party to recognize their work.
Last year's contest winner out of Hillsdale was selected from more than 50 submissions.
Halfacre said his department is looking for innovative and thought-provoking scripts on the importance of staying safe and sober on prom night.
- Each high school may submit up to three public service announcement scripts. High school students may work in teams to develop the scripts. The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control encourages as many senior students as possible to participate in the development of the scripts. Only senior high school students are eligible to participate in this program.
- The phrase "Proms and Alcohol Don't Mix" must be included in the public service announcement.
- The senior students will be asked to participate in the taping of the public service announcements by appearing in the actual video and/or assisting in the production and editing. Only senior high school students from the winning school may appear in the video.
- The public service announcements must meet broadcast, on-air criteria and must be a maximum of thirty seconds in length. Students should time the scripts by reading them out loud prior to submission. It is critical that students adhere to this requirement since the winning entry will be professionally produced.
- All scripts must be typed and submitted on 8 ½ -inch by 11-inch paper.
- No copyrighted characters, music, or celebrities can be used or inferred. Scripts must reflect originality and imagination, and must be easily filmed and produced.
- Content should not be graphic in nature.
- Senior students must include details of what each scene should look like when it is produced on camera.
- Include the following information with all entries: Name of school; Name of teacher and contact information (phone number and email address); Name of students and verification they are seniors. Also include the Senior Prom and Graduation dates at the school.
- The deadline for submission is Friday, December 14. All entries must be sent to the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, 140 East Front Street, P.O. Box 087, Trenton, New Jersey 08625, Attn: Kelly Troilo, High School Prom TV PSA Contest.
2011 WINNING VIDEO - Pascack Valley High School in Hillsdale, Bergen County