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Ads created by Washington County young people tell about the consequences of sex

May 20, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- A pregnant teenager kneels on the floor, her face in her hands, as the baby's father walks out the door.

A young, stressed-out mom vents about having no time to study for final exams.

A pair of young adults shares fears of STDs, unplanned pregnancy, gossip and lost self-respect.

These are the concepts selected by a local organization this year to convey one central message to local teenagers: "Sex Has Consequences."

The winning advertisements, selected in the categories of print, radio and short film, respectively, were created by local teenagers and young adults for the Washington County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition's second annual "Sex Has Consequences" ad and film contest. They were announced Monday at an awards ceremony at The Maryland Theatre.

The first-place print ad was created by 17-year-old Heather Leigh, a Washington County Technical High School senior. The first-place radio ad was written by the 13-year-old girls of Ms. McCauley's class at Clear Spring Middle School, and the first-place short film was submitted by Summit Youth Ministries of Hagerstown.

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Their entries, along with second- and third-place winners from the print and radio categories, will be used by the coalition as part of its mission to raise awareness about teen pregnancy, change attitudes and values, and encourage parent-child communication, coalition director Carol Lourie said. Washington County has the third-highest teen birth rate in Maryland, above both the state and national averages, Lourie said.

The coalition started the ad contest last year to get teens and young adults involved in finding creative ways to convey the consequences of sex to their peers, she said.

Last year's print contest winners were printed in local magazines and newspapers and displayed on the backs of buses. Winning television commercials were aired on Antietam Cable, and winning short films were used in educational settings to start conversations about sex and dating, Lourie said.

The radio ad category, which involved writing a script for a 30-second commercial, was added this year, she said.

There was a fourth category, a 30-second video advertisement, but due to disqualifications for low production quality of copyright infringement, no prizes were awarded in that category, Lourie said.

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