RIPLEY, WV (WCHS/WVAH) — Ripley High School won big but not in sports. A public service announcement to teach the school about the dangers of drunken driving was produced by a small group of students. It ended up winning first place out of 22 schools in a statewide competition with the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration.
With Ripley High School's prom coming up this weekend, those students are hoping the short video will serve as a reminder of the impact drinking and driving can have.
It began as a class project for driver’s education class and turned into an important message Ripley High School students will broadcast across the state.
"It starts off with a mother sending her son off to go to the prom, and so she's really worried, you know ‘Have a good time, don't do anything stupid,’ and he's just like, 'Yeah, whatever mom, I’ll be fine', ” Carson Broom said.
The video shows her son getting into a car with his friends, and there is beer in the car. After prom, her son doesn't come home, so she begins calling the school, worried that something happened to him.
"We see the police lights, and that's when everybody knows that something's happened,” Broom said.
What happened to her son is up to the audience to decide.
"That ambiguity allows for a whole spectrum of drinking and driving accident to fall under one category,” Broom said.
"When I looked at it, I kind of got chills just imagining my parents picking up the phone and it being me,” Brayden Campbell, an actor in the PSA, said.
The video won Ripley High School first place in the ABCA’s contest to make students and parents aware of the dangers of drunken driving.
"I think that kids can see themselves in that situation and see their moms in that situation, so it can show kids that lots of things can happen if you do this,” Tonia Carpenter, an actor in the PSA, said.
Campbell said if you drink and drive "you're putting not only your lives at risks but other people's kids, adults, people's parents. You have to look at the big picture of what you could do to other families."
The goal now is to reach as many people as possible with this message.
"Being able to share this message with members of the community and everyone, it really opens your eyes, and you realize that this is a really big issue,” Broom said.
Students said the $5.000 prize will go toward project graduation and materials for driver's education and journalism classes.