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Southampton Students' Video Wins MADD Contest

Will Banks and Erica Rojas create PSA against teen drinking and drunk driving.

What started as a class assignment to create a public service announcement has led to national recognition for two Southampton students.

juniors and Southampton Village residents Will Banks and Erica Rojas, who take a television production class at Eastern Suffolk BOCES in Bellport, were charged with creating a commercial of no longer than 60 seconds that drives home the message to teens that drunk driving costs lives. Their public service announcement was submitted to Mothers Against Drunk Driving's Power of You(th) video contest and was one of five winners selected from a national pool of entries.

Banks, 16, and Rojas, 17, came up with the idea to mix statistics on drunk driving deaths with clips of teens at school fading away — there one minute and gone the next. The video is set to the Gotye song "Somebody That I Used to Know."

"The people close to you can just go away from drunk driving, because it kills a lot of people,” Banks said.

"As people close to you die, they fade away,” Rojas added.

The video was shot over three days and took another three to edit, they said. It took precision to seamlessly create the effect of people disappearing.

“The camera cannot move," Rojas said. "It has to stay steady. Nothing can be moved or else that ruins the shot.”

While educating others on the dangers of drunk driving, the students learned themselves as well.

"I didn’t know that every hour, so many people die from drunk driving,” Banks said. According to their PSA, 10,839 people will die this year in drunk driving accidents.

Will was also selected to be part of MADD and State Farm’s inaugural Power of You(th) National Teen Influencer Group. He will be sent to MADD’s headquarters in Dallas for a National Teen Influencer Summit in June, and he received an iPad 2.

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