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Girl TORQUE: SADD continues the fight against drunk driving

 

The latest work done by SADD and its students impresses Jacqui, and even gets a laugh...

It’s not often a serious message gets a laugh, but this one did. A short film designed to showcase the 'don’t drink and drive' message to students, it used Plasticine bunnies drunk on fermented berries to get the message across.

The final scene was a hilarious Plasticine splatter-fest, but one which communicated the message – peer pressure can kill you; do the right thing by your mates.

The film was made by a group of high school students and entered in the first Students Against Drunk Driving film competition, against around 50 other entries from 30 schools as far afield Gore and Gisborne, Paraparaumu and Papakura. The message, don’t give in to peer pressure; don’t drink and drive.

The seven finalists were excellent. Sure, most of the acting wouldn’t win an Oscar and the message delivery was sometimes a bit of a blunt instrument, but the storytelling was excellent. Interesting visuals tracked a teen’s sobriety or the progress of a party; cutting between scenes, special effects – they were all there.

I’m endlessly impressed by the work SADD does. Sure, there’s a national co-ordinator orchestrating a handful of overworked regional staff, but most of what’s needed is done by students, in their own schools.

They’re not wowsers. They like a party, and they know that legal or not, high school students will drink. Saying ‘just say no’ is as little likely to work for beer as it does for sex. But looking after your mates? Everyone understands that message.

Mind you, students aren’t always the best at assessing risk even when sober – or controlling their emotions. Those behaviours are only fully formed once your brain stops developing at about 25 years of age. Before then, you might need a little help to work out what’s really important.

That’s where SADD comes in. Kids want to grow up. Kids – teens, young adults, call them what you will – think it’s cool to do grown-up things, to drink and drive and go out late. Some time ago their parents thought it cool too – it’s the way of the world.

SADD doesn’t want to stop students having fun, just stop them drinking and driving; to cut the numbers killing themselves and others on the roads.

That life cut short could be the next Einstein. It could be your mate.

Unfortunately ‘responsibility’ isn’t a cool message, and it’s been hard to get across to boys, and minorities. Until recently SADD was heavily biased towards white, middle-class girls, and not to those most at risk.

Competitions like this one help. Filming, writing songs, acting – they’re all cool. Peter Jackson had to start somewhere – the next Jackson could be one of these kids.

Of the 50 moves made, six won monetary prizes (thanks to Turners Auctions sponsorship) for their makers and the schools involved.

They will be viewable via the SADD website (www.sadd.org.nz) over the coming year. They’ll fire the next crop of students into having a go, and that will help pass on the message that it’s cool to watch out for your mates.

Check out the site – encourage your teens to take up a camera. I’m looking forward to an even better crop of film clips next year. Jacqui Madelin is our expert car reviewer and on the board of the AA Driver Education Foundation.

Read past Girl TORQUE columns here.

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