Two Westfield high school students joined those from 25 other schools throughout New Jersey in being honored by the state Department of Law and Public Safety and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control for their efforts to keep their peers safe and sober during prom season.
Jeremy DeDea and Lizzie Fox received commendations for their entries in the “Proms and Alcohol Don’t Mix” public service announcement script contest.
Now in its eight year, the ABC’s contest aims to encourage high school students to communicate to their peers the dangers of underage drinking.
The winning script — from a trio of students at Woodstown High School in Salem County — was turned into a 30-second commercial, which has been running throughout the spring on television stations and online.
“Prom season is a memorable time in a young person’s life and it is our goal to ensure it is remembered for good times, not tragedy,” ABC Director Michael Halfacre said. “The Division considers underage drinking to be a major threat to the well-being of high school students and have found this contest to be an invaluable conversation starter and tool to raise awareness about that threat.”
The winners’ script was judged best among the 52 submissions in January by a panel comprised of senior ABC staff, media specialists and teen substance abuse advocates. A production team from Rutgers University went on-site to Woodstown High School in February to shoot the spot.
The PSA features Woodstown students trying to combine things that don’t mix, like orange juice in cereal, football players using a soccer ball and wearing a tux with sandals. Before these unnatural pairings can be completed, other students intervene with lines like: “Dude, those definitely don’t mix.”
The consequences of mixing alcohol with proms and graduation festivities can include emotional and legal ramifications, Halfacre said.
Possession of alcohol while under the legal age is a disorderly person’s offense, and penalties could include fines of at least $500, as well as a six-month suspension of a driver’s license, he noted.