Villa Grove wins statewide video contest on underage drinking

Villa Grove wins statewide video contest on underage drinking

VILLA GROVE — Illinois kicked off its "Your Actions Matter!" underage drinking campaign by announcing Villa Grove High School as the winner of its statewide public service announcement video contest.

The announcement was made at an assembly at the school with a screening of the winning video and the presentation of an official proclamation from Gov. Pat Quinn congratulating the students of Villa Grove for "their efforts in protecting Illinois youth from present and future harm."

Said sophomore Brandon Hauersperger, who composed and performed the music for the video: "We were really proud of our work, especially about underage drinking. We were really proud to support that cause."

Hauersperger and his classmates produced the video as part of their health class. Health teacher Noreen Acton said she heard about the contest from the "I Sing the Body Electric" representative from Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center who is a partner in the Your Actions Matter! campaign. "This is a group of self-starters who are creative and talented. I knew they would really run with it. They wanted to make a difference and they believed in the message," she said. "I Sing the Body Electric" provided equipment and technical advice for the video production team.

Emmaline Cler, another sophomore who worked on the video project, said the group enjoyed creating the message as much as the video. "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."

The 30-second video was chosen by a panel of judges made up of the key stakeholders in the campaign, including health providers, school officials and liquor industry representatives. According to Ted Penesis from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, the judges felt the video created a positive impact through simple images and music, which reinforced the organizations' message to discourage adults from providing alcohol for minors. The video shows an adult and child in shadow as the parent gives the child a taste of alcohol.

"Importantly, the message created by Villa Grove High School students is pertinent to parents of all teens, particularly those at the younger age range," says commission Executive Director Gloria Materre, noting that the grant specifically focuses on parents of 8th graders. "We want parents to start the conversation before their kids begin experimenting with alcohol.

The winning video will be shown on television stations statewide in the fall and will be used at town hall meetings being sponsored by the commission and its partners in prevention around the state. Acton says she also plans to use it for future health classes at Villa Grove.

Your Actions Matter! also distributes educational materials asking adults to "think, decide and prevent" before making alcohol purchases for underage drinkers. "Statistics show that the vast majority of adults and liquor retailers do not provide alcohol for minors. So, we understood there was a real need to reinforce positive behavior rather than simply focusing on the negative consequences of underage drinking," said Penesis, who coordinates the yearly effort.

The video can be viewed at http://www.youractionsmatter.org

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