NJ Invites Teens To Script “Proms And Alcohol Don’t Mix” PSA

TRENTON –– Though the prom season is months away, the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control is already asking high school seniors throughout the state to give some serious thought to the dangers they face on that exciting night and how those dangers can be avoided.

This week, Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa and Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre announced the beginning of the sixth annual “Proms and Alcohol Don’t Mix” public service announcement contest, a program that highlights the danger of alcohol for high school students.

“Proms are wonderful celebrations and momentous milestones – milestones that should be looked back upon with only the happiest memories,” said Chiesa. “But we know that the bad decision to drink alcohol on prom night can have devastating effects on a teen’s future. We want students to enjoy a healthy and safe prom season, and my hope is that this contest will help students focus on the dangers of alcohol,” he added.

A letter was sent out to all New Jersey high school principals, asking schools to have their senior students work together on teams to develop scripts for a public service announcement. One overall winning entry will be selected and a number of additional entries will be chosen as runner-up winners. High school students who participate in developing these winning entries will be invited to a special party to recognize their accomplishment. The one overall winning entry will be produced and distributed for broadcast on local television stations.

Last year’s contest winner, created by students from Pascack Regional High School in Hillsdale, was selected from more than 50 submissions from throughout the state.

“We want to see innovative and thought-provoking scripts on the importance of staying safe and sober on prom night,” Halfacre said. “We like this contest because we’ve found that young people can be best educated when they’re engaged by their peers. We believe this sparks a peer-to-peer dialogue of what consequences come when you drink underage.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), youths who consume alcohol are more likely to experience alcohol-related car crashes and other accidents, such as burns, falls and drowning. The United States Department of Health has found that approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die each year as a result of underage drinking.

The following rules apply to the contest:

  • Each high school may submit up to three public service announcement scripts. High school students may work in teams to develop the scripts. The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control encourages as many senior students as possible to participate in the development of the scripts. Only senior high school students are eligible to participate in this program.
  • The phrase “Proms and Alcohol Don’t Mix” must be included in the public service announcement.
  • The senior students will be asked to participate in the taping of the public service announcements by appearing in the actual video and/or assisting in the production and editing. Only senior high school students from the winning school may appear in the video.
  • The public service announcements must meet broadcast, on-air criteria and must be a maximum of thirty seconds in length. Students should time the scripts by reading them out loud prior to submission. It is critical that students adhere to this requirement since the winning entry will be professionally produced.
  • All scripts must be typed and submitted on 8 ½ -inch by 11-inch paper.
  • No copyrighted characters, music, or celebrities can be used or inferred. Scripts must reflect originality and imagination, and must be easily filmed and produced.
  • Content should not be graphic in nature.
  • Senior students must include details of what each scene should look like when it is produced on camera.
  • Include the following information with all entries: Name of school; Name of teacher and contact information (phone number and email address); Name of students and verification they are seniors. Also include the Senior Prom and Graduation dates at the school.

The deadline for submission is Friday, Dec. 14. All entries must be sent to the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, 140 East Front Street, P.O. Box 087, Trenton, New Jersey 08625, Attn: Kelly Troilo, High School Prom TV PSA Contest.

Last year’s winning PSA contest entry can be seen here: http://www.nj.gov/oag/abc/annual-psa-contest.html.

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