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Five Marion County High School seniors have 1,000 reasons to remember one of their class assignments.
Caroline Clark, Natalie Shipp, Rebecca Shuck, Kelsey Smith and Tiffany Mattingly recently won Bluegrass Cellular’s video competition for the “Drive Now, Txt L8r” campaign for a video they created in Ginger Allen’s Special Topics class.
Their prize was $1,000.
Although the assignment dealt with a serious topic, the students agreed that they enjoyed working on it.
“This is probably the most fun we’ve had with any of our projects,” Clark said.
In their video, music plays as photos of a group of friends appear on the screen. One of the students is shown in a cap and gown and receiving her diploma. The video then cuts to another student explaining that her best friend might still be here today if not for texting and driving.
Each of the students played a role in producing and editing the video.
“I was the person that died,” Smith said.
Shipp credited Clark for one important aspect of the video.
“Caroline [Clark] put emotion into our video,” Shipp said.
Clark is the student who speaks into the camera at the end of the video.
Shipp said they had been inspired, in part, by the death of Curt Nalley. Nalley was killed in a car accident in July, just a few months after he’d graduated from MCHS. Although the circumstances of his death were different than the subject of their video, it was a reminder to them how quickly someone can lose their life.
“We do not want to lose anyone else,” Clark said.
The students also agreed that editing was the hardest part of making the video.
“It took two or three days just to figure out the song,” Smith said.
Their original video used the song “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan, but they have since changed the music to avoid using a song that may have copyright issues.
Because Marion County schools had a few days off during the week the finalists were announced, the local students didn’t learn they were in the running for the top prize until the last day people could vote.
Once they learned they were in the running, they took to Facebook and Twitter, and used Instagram to get the word out to their friends and family to vote.
Smith said the other finalists had more advanced technology in producing their videos, but the Marion County students believe they benefitted from having a video that was a little different from the other finalists.
“The other ones showed the concept of a wreck, but our video was ‘You have so much to live for,’” Clark said.
Jescanta James, the marketing and public relation administrator for Bluegrass Cellular, presented the $1,000 award to the students Monday. She said Bluegrass Cellular employees selected the finalist, adding that they were impressed with the content of the Marion County students’ video.
James added that this is the second year Bluegrass Cellular has hosted the contest as part of the ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the risks of texting and driving.
Working on the video also made the students think about their own texting and driving habits. Shipp said they learned that a car can travel the length of a football field in the time it takes to look down and read a text.
Clark admitted that she used to text while she drove. Now she puts her phone out of sight, and out of mind.
“I put my phone where my sunglasses holder is,” she said. “That way I don’t hear it.”
The winning students are grateful for the $1,000, which they will split five ways. Shuck said she was going to take her boyfriend out to eat. Clark is saving her money for Spring Break. Shipp and Mattingly said they would use the money to buy presents, and Smith said her winnings are going in the bank.
Allen said she learned about the contest from school counselor Jan Bradshaw. She said the winning group put a lot of work into the project filming and editing, and then filming and editing more to improve the final product.
“To me it's very rewarding to see this group of girls produce such a great video and also to see that Bluegrass Cellular also saw how amazing it was,” Allen said.
The students repeated their appreciation to Allen for her guidance throughout the project, and Shipp encouraged future MCHS students to sign up for Allen’s courses.
“Any computer class you can take of hers, take it,” Shipp said.
Editor’s note: The winning video can be seen on the Marion County High School website at http://wwww.marion.kyschools.us/olc/page.aspx?id=8941&s=84.