March & April 2008
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), Aberdeen High School, Harford County, Robin Testerman, R.N., Robin.Testerman@hcps.org
‘The Aftermath’ was created by Aberdeen High students to send a stronger message than just don’t drink and drive. Students in SADD created a public service announcement that depicted a car crash, the arrest of the drunk driver who is taken to jail, the grief of the families that lost a loved one, and the processes of planning a funeral and viewing. The video was created by SADD to use during the ‘Prom Promise Week’ and was shown to all 11th and 12th grade students.
Best Practice 1: What recognized community need was met by your project (e.g. health, education, environmental or public safety need)?
Our project met public safety and education needs.
We decided on the video for the drunken driving project because of the material students were studying in health class. Students reviewed statistics on driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, such as the number of drunk drivers reported and arrested within the county. The students felt that just telling other students to “just say no” wasn’t always effective, so they decided to show their fellow students a video they made as a major wake up call about the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The students of SADD realized the dangers of drunken driving and hoped that they could get their message out to the rest of the student body. A message from a funeral director, Fred Zellman, added impact to the video. The completed video was viewed during English class by all eleventh and twelfth grade students. It is our hope that students and faculty were helped by the project.
Best Practice 2: How was the project connected to school curriculum (e.g. what course outcomes were met and/or how did the project reinforce or enhance student academic learning)?
The project enhanced the health curriculum’s section on drinking and driving and the section on the effects of alcohol. Students involved with the project also applied research, writing, editing, public speaking, and technology skills.
Best Practice 3: How did you reflect on your experience throughout the project?
We surveyed many parents on how they would feel if they lost a loved one to drunk driving. These interviews fueled reflections on the project among students. A great deal of reflection was also done during the writing of the script as students reviewed what message they were trying to portray. The video was edited by the president of SADD, Katie Gillis, and shown to her fellow members for feedback and discussion. The members felt the video was perfect.
Best Practice 4: How did students take leadership roles and take responsibility for the success of the project?
SADD members took leadership of this project. SADD meets after school at least twice a month and has a membership of fifteen to eighteen active members. SADD also worked with members of the drama club for the filming of the video. Students wrote and edited the script, acted in the video, and did the video taping and editing of the video.
Best Practice 5: What community partners did you work with on this project (e.g. non-profits, civic organizations, business that provided donations, etc.)?
Partners included the Harford County Police Department, the Harford County Fire Department, the Zellman-Mitchell-Smith Funeral Home, and Amanda’s Flowers.
Best Practice 6: How did you prepare and plan ahead for the project?
We had to plan all steps of the project including writing the script, filming and editing the video, and calling the appropriate agencies and businesses to request their help.
Best Practice 7: What knowledge and skills did students develop through this project?
The students that were involved in the creation of the video learned the importance of planning, following a written script, time management, creating community partnerships, film editing, and the dedication required to complete a big project successfully.