Student’s video among three state finalists
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
A Del Norte High senior’s public service announcement is one of three finalists in a statewide video contest on suicide prevention.
The winner will be determined by online votes cast by midnight on Tuesday, May 17. Voting is limited to California residents and one vote from an IP address per day. To view the videos and cast a ballot, go to www.directingchange.org/suicide-prevention-public-voting.
Megan Drew, 17, said she created the one-minute video “Tell Someone” earlier this year after learning about the contest from her digital media teacher, Steve Holstrom. It involved her researching the topic, writing the script, directing and editing the video, and composing its music, which she played on the piano.
“I’m pretty excited,” Drew said about becoming a finalist.
Drew; the video’s lead actress, Lindsay Stevens; and their mothers received a trip to Sacramento so they can attend the award ceremony on May 23. That is when the winners in the suicide prevention and reducing mental illness stigma categories will be announced.
There were 371 entries among the two categories in the statewide Directing Change student video contest for high school students. The contest is funded through Proposition 63, which passed in November 2004. It is known as the Mental Health Services Act.
Drew said as one of the 24 regional finalists she received $1,000 for herself and $1,000 for Del Norte. If her video wins, she and the school will receive another $1,000 each.
While on the contest website the entire video is shown in black and white, Drew said she had it end in color to emphasize how the main character is starting anew and recovering from her suicidal thoughts. The actors are students in Del Norte’s drama program.
“The script took the longest time because I wanted to make something valuable,” Drew said. “The content had to be there because it would have the most impact on the video. I chose to write it like a poem.”
Drew said it was important to include the program’s main points — including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 24-hour free hotline at 1-800-273-8255 — but to end the script “on a positive note, full of hope.”
She added, “I learned a lot through my research that was helpful and enlightening. I’m a peer counselor at school and heard classmates struggling with suicide and how it affects their lives.
“You’d be surprised how many kids are affected, so if I can reach out and touch one person, I’ll be making a difference,” she said.
The daughter of 4S Ranch residents Janet and Mark Drew said she is considering studying media production when she attends Missouri State University in the fall, where she plans to play Division I field hockey.
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