Murray Middle School SWAT Students Win Local Anti-Tobacco Video Public Service Announcement Contest
April 17, 2014

Members of the Students Working Against Tobacco Club at Murray Middle School took First Place in a local video contest promoting youth tobacco prevention. The video clip focused on the issue of youth dating, making the point that non-smokers are more attracted to non-smokers.


The Winning Entry in the 2014 Anti-Tobacco Video Contest

The winning entry features Emily Damm and Alana Jakee, with cameos by Dylan Williams, Josh Boatwright, and Jaime Jimenez.

The Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest is co-sponsored by WSTU Radio, the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County. The contest gives local youth the opportunity to create their own 30-second video PSAs highlighting youth tobacco issues. Middle and high school students throughout the Treasure Coast were invited to submit entries.

The Murray Middle School SWAT club did not originally create the video for the contest. The club had written and produced a longer video to highlight strategies for saying "no" to peer pressure when offered a tobacco product.

Murray MS SWAT
The stars of the winning video (front row) show off their awards!

"The SWAT club invited me to a screening of the final video during one of their club meetings," said Dr. Barry Hummel, co-founder of the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation. "I was very impressed with the original film, and I suggested that they create several 30-second PSA's from the longer video and enter them in the contest."

The club took Dr. Hummel's advice and entered four individual PSA's. The winning entry advanced to the finals where it was named the winner by the Orlando Magic radio and television broadcast teams.

The students shared that the winning entry was actually a bit of an accident. In the video, the girl who describes that she is smoking as a way to "get all the boys" is a bit shocked when three boys follow off her non-smoking friend.

"It was funny.. we were making the video, and then three boys followed us off, and we didn’t know that was going to happen," reported Alanna Jakee, who played the non-smoker.

Originally, only one of the boys was supposed to follow the non-smoker. During the filming, two other boys jumped in and followed as well. Josh Boatwright, who played one of the three boys, said “I think the reason they didn’t go after the girl that was smoking was because her breath was stinking, and it was making her kind of wrinkly at a young age.”

Whether they knew it or not, the video touched on an important issue added Dr. Hummel. "Teens who smoke tend to hang out together, as do non-smoking teens. Because so few teenagers use tobacco now, teens who use tobacco are actually limiting who is willing to date and socialize with them."

Dylan Williams: “I think this really helped us out… is learning how NOT to use tobacco and how we can influence others to make the right choice just the same as we do.”

Cynthia Bishop, the SWAT advisor at Murray Middle School, could not have been prouder of her students. “I have enjoyed my experience of being the SWAT club advisor this year," said Mrs. Bishop, "and it’s been especially rewarding to empower these students in feeling very strongly about not smoking, and encouraging their peers to not smoke. I hopefully will have a productive and big club next year!”

Jaime Jimenez, the President of the club, agreed with Mrs. Bishop. "I thought it was a good year," said Jaime. "We had fun... it was great! You should not smoke. Really bad stuff will happen.”

"We are now working on having the winning video broadcast in local media outlets, including MCTV," said Dr. Hummel. "The winning video will also be made available on the WSTU and WPSL web pages."

You can also view the original film in its entirety here:

 

For more information on local youth tobacco prevention efforts, contact Kim Waser, Martin County's Tobacco Prevention Specialist, at kwaser@quitdoc.com.