Fort Dodge Community School District

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Lights Camera Prevention: FDMS Students Place 2nd in State Contest - from The Messenger

January 7, 2021

With all of the other activities going on at Fort Dodge Middle School, Jamarria Davis, 14, a seventh-grader, had doubts that her group would finish their entry for a prevention awareness campaign contest.

Davis and three other students participated in a contest called Lights...Camera...Prevention! The contest is sponsored by the Iowa State University Prosper Rx Project.

With the help of Toni Cochrane, FDMS student services coordinator, the group created a public service announcement video centered around the dangers of vaping.

3 girls in front of whiteboard

"Three out of four of us had practice (after school)," Davis said. "I wanted to stop doing it because it was so hard, but we kept going."

Davis along with Joscelyn Kahler, 13; Amariauna Palmer, 12; and Merissa Gutierrez, 13, began the project by conducting research.

"We got together in a classroom and met twice a week," Davis said. "We talked about why kids vape and why they shouldn't vape. At a young age, it can damage your lungs and cause hospitalization."

Kahler learned it can affect heart rate.

"It can affect your heart and stop it," Kahler said. "You could get really sick and it's not good for you."

The students chose vaping because of its prevalence within the school.

"We wanted to do vaping because most of the kids in our grade or school are doing it," Davis said. "We want to stop it before kids get into danger."

The students could choose to create a radio announcement or a video announcement. They chose to make a video. And Davis said once her group got to the point of making the video, the project became easier.

In the 59 second clip, the students act out a scene in a bathroom where they are seen by another student with vapes in their hands. Later, the students say they wish they would have listened to their parents and teachers. They say they wish they would not have pressured their friends to vape. And they say they wish they would have stayed in activities and sports.

At the end of the video, titled "I Wish," a student holds up a prop that looks like a gravestone. It reads, "You want to nail your chemistry experiment, you don't want to become one."

The video was submitted for the contest on Nov. 20. On Dec. 15, the students learned they won second place. The contest included submissions from both high school and middle school students across the state.

"Luckily, we got it done before we went to hybrid learning," Kahler said.

In addition to bragging rights, the students were awarded $250. Cochrane said the group will meet in the coming days to decide how the money could best be spent.

Perhaps the best part of the project, according to Palmer, was making new friends.

"We didn't really hang out before," she said. "It was really fun getting closer with friends."

The students will be recognized during the next Fort Dodge Community School District Board of Education meeting on Monday at 6 p.m.

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