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Preston PSA competes

Preston High School students have a new public service announcement that is up for a major national award.

A team of three students in teacher Craig Youngren’s senior elective video production class have created a PSA about preventing teen dating violence that is one of four finalists in the Let Your Heart Rule PSA contest sponsored by Break the Cycle and HopeLine from Verizon.

If Preston’s PSA wins, the PSA will appear on the nationally televised Dr. Phil Show, the school will receive a $1,000 grant, and the students will be given tablet computers.

Voting is completed.

Ashley Persaud, Alexa LaMarca, and Nicole Sellati submitted a silent 30-second video where an abused teen tries to cover up physical abuse with makeup, with the point being that no teen should try to cover up date abuse, Youngren said.

“We usually try to make our videos entertaining and funny, but they decided very early on that there was no way to do this with teen dating violence,” Youngren said. “The students are excited and eager to see what the other three schools in the competition have done.”

The topic is one that deserves serious attention, because unfortunately sometimes young women are subjected to dating violence abuse, Youngren said, and teens need to break the silence.

“We made the deliberate decision to make our video silent in order to send the message that not all teens in abusive relationships speak out and get the help they need,” Persaud said.

The idea for the video originated in script that Persaud, LaMarca, and Sellati wrote, and the since they were going to be creating makeup to simulate a black eye and bruises, they developed the idea of having the makeup the girl in the video is putting on be a symbol of an attempt to cover up abuse.

The purpose of the PSA competition, according to the Letyourheartrule.com website, is to show that dating violence does not discriminate, whether you are a young man or young woman, or of one particular race or skin color.

“One in three teens will experience abuse in a dating relationship and more than two-thirds of them will never report it to anyone,” said Marjorie Gilberg, executive director of Break the Cycle. “We’re honored to partner with Verizon Wireless to help empower and educate teens on this very important topic, and help put a stop to the cycle of teen dating violence.”

In addition to submitting PSA contests, a number of the videos created in the class and by Preston High School’s video club also have appeared on the MSG Varsity website, Youngren said.

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