Somerville High School Student PSA Entry Takes Top Honors in ‘2013 Speak Up: Your Voice Matters’ PSA Project
Somerville High School students earned the top spot in the 2013 Speak Up: Your Voice Matters PSA Project hosted by Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan and Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Inc. Maxwell Freitas, Kathlyn Almeida and Kayla Brown-Haynes were the overall winners for “Don’t be a Bystander: Do Something” (http://middlesexda.com/news/videos.php?reference=50). More than 200 students participated in the fifth annual PSA Project; 50 videos were submitted for consideration. The SHS team of Franklin Rodriguez, Jenny Dunn and Roubin Philemond were also among the five finalists with their PSA “Speak Up – The Movie” (http://middlesexda.com/news/videos.php?reference=49).
“This year’s project was all about encouraging our youth to find their voice – by standing up for their peers, calling out someone who is a bully, and preventing violence or abuse by talking to someone they trust,” noted Middlesex County District Attorney Ryan in a statement earlier this month announcing the Project’s five finalists. Also among the finalists were PSA entries from Lexington High School, Melrose High School, and Nashoba Valley Regional Technical High School.
The winning video was selected by Middlesex County middle and high school students who viewed all of the finalist videos during school assemblies. Finalists were selected by a panel of law enforcement officials, school personnel, and members of the Middlesex District Attorney’s office after viewing all 50 entries. All 2013 finalist PSAs are available for viewing at www.middlesexda.com.
This is the second year in the Project’s five-year history that Somerville High School students have won the District Attorney’s PSA Project. SHS also won the first Project in 2009. The 2009 winning PSA focused on teen dating violence. The PSA Project was created to encourage teens to speak out about a range of issues that affect youth. Prior Projects have focused on teen dating violence, teen impaired driving, cyber safety, and sexting.
“Congratulations to Max, Kathlyn, Kayla, Jenny, Roubin and Franklin on their outstanding work on their PSAs. We are extremely proud of the effort they put into producing PSAs that address an important and difficult issue affecting youth across the country,” stated Superintendent of Schools Tony Pierantozzi. “One of the most common statements I hear from Somerville High School students is that they feel there is a place for everyone at SHS. Our students come from all over the world, and they understand the tremendous value of being part of such a richly diverse community. Through their work on these projects, these 6 students have demonstrated the importance that Somerville High School students place on creating a welcoming, supportive and safe school environment that fosters mutual respect and kindness.”
Among the programs in which SHS students participate to promote a positive school environment are the Somerville Mediation Program and the annual Multicultural Fair. Under adult supervision, students participate in mediation training to learn how to assist peers in reaching a peaceful resolution to conflicts. The program, under the direction of Alice Comack, also provides conflict resolution and crisis intervention support and training through group work and workshops. The annual Multicultural Fair provides students with the opportunity to share each other’s cultural backgrounds by showcasing food, music, attire, dance and history of their native cultures. Students consistently rate this annual event as a highlight of their year.