Dozens of high school students from across Nassau County were honored by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and his wife yesterday, and presented with citations to recognize their winning entries in Nassau County’s 3rd Annual Drug Alternatives Public Safety Announcement Contest.
Linda Mangano – a strong advocate for drug abuse awareness and prevention and a contest judge – joined in congratulating the students at the award ceremony, held in the Ceremonial Chambers of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building.
The contest required students to create a 30-second PSA that demonstrates in video format, a message of hope, ways to find help, and positive alternatives to risk taking behaviors often associated with Bullying, Depression, or stigma. It aims to promote awareness of the dangers of substance abuse; to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities – and is open to all high school students in Nassau.
Cash Prizes were given to students who placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd – thanks to the event sponsors: Mental Health Association of Nassau County; Suffolk County National Bank; and EAC Network. In winning entries submitted by 3 or more students, the prize went to the school advisor toward a celebration with the students.
Nassau County Legislator Donald MacKenzie presented citations to student winners from Locust Valley High School, which is in his district.
In total, 290 students participated in this year’s contest – that’s more than triple the 107 participants last year. In all, the 10 high schools along with Nassau BOCES Barry Tech Center, submitted 85 video entries – 16 of which were chosen as winners.
“Each year that we hold this contest, it gets tougher and tougher to narrow down to just a few winners,” County Executive Mangano said.
This year, winners were chosen in each of 4 topic categories: depression; bullying; stigma and destructive decisions. The students’ messages – to their peers – were clear: Words hurt more than you know; it’s ok to admit depression & ask for help; you should Be the one – that friend, that goes against the crowd and makes a lonely person feel included.
“You have all managed to provide clear and extremely powerful messages, within just 30 seconds, and that’s not easy,” County Executive Mangano told those students and family members in attendance last night. “That, combined with some masterful video production skills, is certainly all deserving of recognition and merit.”
“We thank you for providing us with this opportunity to experience your artistic expressions on these very important topics,” he said. “We were inspired by them.
County Executive Mangano also presented citations to a representative from each of the participating schools this year. First Place winners include students from high schools in Locust Valley, Levittown, Woodmere, Great Neck, New Hyde Park, Manhasset, Hempstead and Nassau BOCES Barry Tech Center.
Other students, whose entries took 2nd or 3rd place, or received honorable mention in one of the categories, represent high schools in Baldwin and Valley Stream.
Several of the schools were participating in the contest for the first time this year – like Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead. The school’s Health Teacher & Social Worker, assigned the contest as a class project for all 160 sophomore health students, to be counted as a test grade. 103 students worked in groups of 4-5 to create the PSA entries.
Great Neck South, Locust Valley, Herricks and DRS Yeshiva High School for Boys, also participated for the first time this year.
Herricks had 43 students work on multiple video submissions under the advisement of the schools media teacher and District Superintendent.
County Executive Mangano told the parents and other family members, gathered at yesterday’s ceremony, that they can be very proud of their children tonight, “as he or she stepped up to help us raise awareness about the dangers of both illegal and prescription drugs, as well as to bring attention to the myriad of social/emotional issues our children are facing today on a daily basis. Especially at an age when they themselves are confronted with dangerous experimentation and peer pressure.”
“They illustrated so well the difference it can make when someone who is being bullied is offered support and friendship; how important it is to make good choices, to let them know they can call our HELPLINE (516-227-TALK or 227-8255) anytime to talk about those feelings instead; and, that it’s okay to ask for help,” he said.
The students learned in which spot they placed, when the winning PSAs were shown at the ceremony. Below is a listing of winners.
1st place winners include these high schools and students:
• Locust Valley: Mike, Chris & Joe Madsen; Marc Ambrosino and advisor – James Debendetto.
• Levittown Macarthur: Scarlet Cafarelli, Siara Louie, Alexa Munoz, Nic Nocella, Erin Perotta, Jenna Peters; and advisor – Bill Farney.
• DRS Yeshiva for Boys: Avi Bulka, and advisor – Rabbi Eli Brazil.
• Herricks: Ryan Quintiliano, Katie Pacura, Emily Hartmann, advisor-Christopher Brogan; district superintendent Fino Celano.
• Great Neck South: Fracesca DeSadow, Nicole Marinescu; Hailey Rich; advisor Robert Zahn; teaching assistants Marissa Lando, Paul Derych.
• Nassau BOCES Barry Tech: Michael Mossallam, Victoria Robinson, Julia Tourchia, advisor – Robyn Morgan-Cavalieri, principal – Laurie Harris.
• Manhasset Secondary School: Jessalyn Chuang
2nd and 3rd Place winners, and those receiving Honorable Mention, include:
• Valley Stream: Ariel Yeni, advisor – Ed Fare, principal – Maureen Henry.
• Baldwin: Christopher Baker, Felicia Bigg, Erik Boci, Anthony Bruno, Zachary Greenwood, Katherine Hess, Malik McGriff, Roderick McLean, Jeremy Meyerson, Brazille Noel, Michael Pereira, Xavier Rubira, Christopher Stanczuk, Ashleigh Stanley, Nakiya Warner, Kyanna Wiggins.
• Great Neck South: Michael Shen, Richard Lau, Haley Raphael.
• Sacred Heart Academy: Joana Graca, Emma Grieco, Alyssa Macher, Amaya Ortiz, Margot Varrichio, Bethany Ambrosio, Olivia DiSanto, Christina Fields-Fowler, advisor- Emily Butler, Social Worker – Beth Kennedy; Chrystelle Gooding, Isabella Niola, Jennifer Cali, Sara Campbell, Julia Cervoni, Giulia Mignardi, Afia Kuragu, Ariel Metayer, Brianna Ruiz, and Amanda Schmidt.
• BOCES: Daniel Gellman, Jada Spires, Julia Tourchia.