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Cooper Middle School students win prize for anti-meth video

The Marietta Daily Journal, Nov. 1, 2010

AUSTELL - The news teams at Cooper Middle School had a serious message to convey, and found a creative - and awardwinning way to get that message across.

In conjunction with the Georgia Meth Project's "Not Even Once" campaign, the students, with the help of media director Delinda Jiles, wrote and produced an eight-minute video that illustrated the danger of using meth and competed against other Cobb schools.

The video uses flashback scenes to illustrate how "Liz" becomes addicted to meth and overdoses. While the video has a somber theme, its underlying message is one of friendship. Liz's friends stand by her and help her get counseling to kick her addiction.

"It really doesn't matter who you are," said Jane Ikebukwu, 12, a seventh grader who portrayed Liz's drug supplier. "If you're the smartest, the greatest of all, even you are prone to doing meth and being addicted to it."

Eighth-grader Olivia Hardy, 14, who had the role of Liz, said, "The biggest thing was knowing you could help someone through the video."

Seventh-grader Liz Allen, 12, who wrote the script, said her favorite part wasn't the act of writing. "It was more of trying to incorporate a way where maybe this line would help somebody or this line would change somebody's mind about drugs or life, even," Allen said.

The team had three days to write a script, and one day to film. They submitted the video on Oct. 18.

Jiles, the school's media director, said: "These kids really followed direction well ... we didn't have any type of practice. Everybody did an excellent job and put in their 100 percent."

The students will receive $1,000 for their school, half of which will to be used on drug prevention. The team members will also get $500 to split among themselves. Representatives from the Georgia Meth Project will hold an awards ceremony for the students on Nov. 12, and the video will be posted on the Meth Project website as well. It can also be seen on mdjonline.com under "videos." The students all said they were honored and excited to win the award, and hoped it would create more interest in the school's media program.

"We all tried our best," Hardy said.

Allen added: "I think we put the most heart and the most thought into it."