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Downers Grove North Teens on Winning Team in County-wide Video Contest

Downers Grove North students Alexis Johnson and Stewart Avdich brought their talents to the production process of a public service announcement on heroin awareness.

It only took 30 seconds to bring tears to the eyes of over 200 people in attendance at the first Heroin Prevention Forum held Jan. 23 at the DuPage County administration building.

The emotion stirred during the screening of the winning public service announcement (PSA) produced by a group of high school seniors: Alexis Johnson and Stewart Avdich of Downers Grove (North H.S.), Amy Szabo of Roselle (Lake Park), David Herwaldt of Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West), and Kevin Williamson of Wheaton (Glenbard West). All are enrolled in the Multimedia & TV Production program at Technology Center of DuPage (TCD) in Addison as an elective part of their respective high schools. TCD provides advanced career and technical education classes open to all DuPage area juniors and seniors.

The TCD students were among 54 high school and middle school students who had submitted PSAs, posters, billboard designs, and other media for the county-wide heroin awareness contest sponsored by the DuPage Coalition Against Heroin. The contest is part of the “Be a Hero in DuPage” campaign to highlight the danger of heroin use and encourage communication among teens, parents, educators, and the community at large.

Szabo and Johnson did the pre-production storyboard and script; Herwaldt and Szabo the lighting and camera work; and Williamson, Szabo, and Avdich the editing and other post-production work. Miranda Hagen (Szabo's friend from Lake Park H.S.) and her mother play the anguished teen and grieving mother.

“We wanted to show that communicating—speaking up—is so important for kids and parents,” said Szabo.

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