A trio of Kildonan-East Collegiate students have been recognized for their efforts to educate youth about the dangers of smoking.
Grade 9 students Branden Clark, Ashlan Labossiere, and Jade Vilela entered their video, Think Twice, in the Create and Rate Challenge, a school-based, anti-tobacco video contest held by the provincial government. The goal of the challenge was to inform youth about the dangers of smoking.
Think Twice was awarded first place in the high school category while Birthday Cake by Steinbach Junior High won in the middle-school category. They were among 10 videos from across the province which were selected as semifinalists and were posted online for students to vote on.
For their efforts Kildonan-East won an Apple iPad, which they’re still deciding how to share.
Tannis Francis, a drama teacher at the school who encouraged students to create the video as a class project, said it’s great to see young people willing to take on the issue of smoking.
"The fact that they’re in Grade 9 and just starting high school, I find it inspiring that they were so committed to this project," Francis said.
"The challenge with anti-tobacco videos is making it original, there are so many out there. But the students connected with it."
Vilela said even though it originally started off as a class project, it quickly became something more.
"Nowadays you see a lot of younger people smoking and it shortens their lives," Vilela said.
Labossiere said the trio wanted to get the message out that smoking isn’t as cool as some of their peers might think.
"We wanted to show all the side effects of smoking," she said. "When younger people see people smoking they think it’s cool and want to do it, but it’s gross."
The students used a number of graphic images to illustrate the impact smoking can have on a person, and admit their hope is that it makes viewers feel uneasy.
"Our goal with the graphic images was to make them feel uncomfortable and realize the impact it will have," Vilela said.
"It’s much more common to see people smoke. We want people to think twice," Clark added.
Francis said she is pleased the students’ efforts didn’t go unnoticed.
"It’s so refreshing when students are acknowledged for their hard work," Francis said.
"It’s nice that this positive thing happened to these students. As a teacher I find this validating."
To view the video visit http://mbcreaterate.ca.