Over the last eight years, over 600 Kentucky teenagers have used video to deliver warnings against ‘underage drinking.’ The lasting impact is hard to gauge, but participating youth and adults are confident lessons are learned. The Keep-It-Real Contest puts a high school student’s creativity to the test by asking them to develop a 30 second video message. Donna Weisenhahn with the Bluegrass Prevention Center believes the project has become more than a warning against the dangers of ‘drinking and driving.’
“It can’t just be about drinking and driving…and drinking and driving is, of course, a huge issue…but the kids seem to have that message..that they know they shouldn’t drink and drive..our concern is..we just don’t want them drinking underage,” said Weisenhahn.
Beth McKenzie teaches television production at Lexington’s Dunbar High School. McKenzie says producing new creative messages is the biggest challenge, but it’s those videos which spur the most discussion.
“The reaction from some kids are kind of mixed sometimes but I think the biggest thing is that it gets them talking about it and it gets them vocalizing concerns and they’re able to talk about it with their peers and they’re able to talk about it with a teacher or with other teachers,” said McKenzie.
McKenzie says many of their earlier videos had a dark message, with images of graveyards. Senior Paige Noe, who’s team won an award this year for ‘Best Script,’ says the emphasis now is more upbeat.
“We’ve tried to think of a way to show more of like having fun instead of like the most serious consequences..like someone dieing in a car accident.. trying to show like a more positive outlook on it,” said Noe.
This year, organizer Donna Weisenhahn says students from nine counties were represented with about 70 more teenagers involved this year.