Living Alcohol and Drug Free: GAPP honors youth video contest winners
In the first scene, Jaylin Reed is seen in a gym confidently looking at the camera, then launching and swishing a three-pointer.
After repeating the feat, Reed, a junior at Miller School in Crozet, is in class, excelling.
But then the scenes turn dark, and Reed is stumbling on the court, airballing a short jumper, and has to be awakened by a classmate after falling asleep at his desk.
The Staunton teen, the winner of the Living Alcohol and Drug Free video contest sponsored by Greater Augusta Prevention Partners, got his message across loud and clear.
“I just wanted to show my friends, teachers and the community that doing drugs and alcohol can have a big effect on your life, whether it’s mentally, socially or physically,” Reed said at an award ceremony at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona on Thursday.
The top three videos in the contest, open to teens in Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro, were honored by GAPP, with an audience including Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith, Waynesboro Police Chief Mike Wilhelm and a host of local school leaders.
The second-place winner was a team from the Staunton Montessori School – Graham Duncan, Cyrus McCall, Hailey Benson, Jack Vinson, Anna Waller – who came up with a video featuring students climbing Humpback Rocks to achieve a natural high.
Their project was hard work, literally.
“After the first two minutes, we were very tired. It was a very hard climb. And very slippery. Lots of steep rocks,” Waller said.
Third place went to Waynesboro High School freshman Caleb Creasy for his video featuring puppets representing a teen and his father discussing the dangers of alcohol use after the teen had tried to raid the family refrigerator for beer.
Asked if he’d had a similar real-life conversation with his father, Creasy had a ready answer.
“I’m still alive, so, no,” Creasy said.
Voting was conducted online at the GAPP website at ValleyPrevention.com to determine the winners, and nearly 3,000 votes were cast by people across the country who tuned in via the web, said Keri Jones, the GAPP Coalition coordinator.
Jones had dreamed up the video contest last year as a way to engage the creativity of local youths in spreading the “Living Alcohol and Drug Free” message.
“It went beautifully,” Jones said. “We advertised to all of the local schools, we advertised to community groups, and we got some great kids. The top three videos were fabulous. A lot of work went into them, and a good message was sent out.”