OTTAWA — High school students at nine schools in Putnam County are participating in a friendly competition to create Instagram videos to promote drug awareness this month through January.
The Police Chiefs Association obtained funding through a grant from Mercy Health and it was discussed at a meeting how the funds could be used to help students, according to Keith Schierloh, Putnam County Common Pleas Court judge.
Over the course of 60 to 90 days it was decided funds from the St. Rita’s grant to the Putnam County Police Chiefs, Putnam County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, Putnam County Court and Putnam County Common Pleas Court would help with the program.
“The drugs in the community carry significantly on the number of crimes that are committed. When we are talking about drug abuse we are talking about opioids, heroin and methamphetamine that result in close to 65 to 70% of our caseload here in Common Pleas court,” Schierloh said.
Students from the schools posted videos on drug awareness Nov. 1 that will run through Nov. 30 with the theme “Make Some Noise Against Drugs.”
The 20-second video posts use the hashtag #makesomenoiseagainstdrugs and on the first of December and January new videos will be posted.
The schools will again post a video in December and January and each video will be tallied for the number of “likes.” The school whose video receives the most likes will receive $1,000, $800 for second place and $500 for third place. The remaining school scan earn $200 if the school reaches 50% of the high school student body each month on the videos or three times for the three-month period. The funding will be used for the winning school’s prom for food, music and prizes.
Ann Ellerbrock, Ottawa-Glandorf High School principal, said each grade was responsible for designing their own T-shirt promoting drug awareness and others helped create and be in the videos.
“Especially now with the increase of vapes out there we are trying to promote a healthy awareness of drugs that will be inscribed on their T-shirts and on the Instagram videos,” Ellerbrock said.
Marcy Balbaugh, O-G high school junior, said in the video all of the school’s sports teams participated in being in the video.
“We had a basketball players who said ‘make some noise’ when he dunked the ball and others who said ‘against drugs,’ Balbaugh said.
She said there are a lot of health risks with vaping and drugs and said it is good to be educated on those risks at a young age.
Nick Verhoff, Columbus Grove Schools superintendent, said the videos are a fun and competitive opportunity for students.
“We promote drug awareness through our curriculum and have a See Something Say Something program if students see other students engaging in dangerous behavior it can be unanimously reported,” Verhoff said.
Tanner Smith, Columbus Grove High School senior, and others in the interactive media class worked on creating a video.
“Drug use is a big epidemic right now and you hear about people who are addicted and it is a good thing for them to get over their addiction,” Smith said.
To watch and like the videos visit Columbus Grove, cgschools, Continental, pirates _chs, Fort Jennings, jennings.local.school.district, Kalida, kalidawildcats, Leipsic, vikings_lhs, Miller City, millercity_newclevelandschool, Ottawa Glandorf, ottawa_glandorf_titans, Ottoville, ottovilleschooldistrict and Pandora, pg_art_department
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.