HANCOCK - When teacher Matt Dennis' eighth-grade communication and technology class at Hancock Middle School was given the assignment of creating some sort of media presentation about safe driving, four of the students chose to create a video, and it ended up winning an award.
Hannah Heikkinen, Ellie Lucier, Molly McKenzie and Brennah Wasie got together and came up with the idea of creating a video about the dangers of drunk driving for the Keweenaw Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council Safe Driving Video contest.
"(The video came from) brainstorming and ideas we put together," Wasie said.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
From left, Hancock Middle School eighth-grade students Ellie Lucier, Brennah Wasie, Hannah Heikkinen and Molly McKenzie look at the video they made about the dangers of drunk driving Wednesday. The video won a $300 award from the Keweenaw Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council.
All four of the students are in the video, and Wasie's home and a local cemetery were location sites.
The video depicts four apparently intoxicated teens getting into a vehicle and driving away. There is a collision, then blackness and silence. Eventually, the driver becomes aware and sees her friends injured. One is dead. The remainder of the video shows the aftermath with one of the victims suffering brain injury, another with a broken leg and the driver overcome with remorse.
Dennis said the video was created because of inspiration from another HMS teacher.
"The contest was brought to our attention by our driver's (education) instructor, Paul Dube," he said. "I just threw it out there to several groups in the class."
Dennis said the four students did all the editing of the video themselves on a computer. He provided no assistance in the production.
"It's an outstanding job," he said.
The effects for the video were created by the students, also, Dennis said. They used a fog machine to create the effect of smoke, and they used a small electronic tablet to create the impression of lights on a police vehicle.
Dennis said the students did much of the work for the video after school and on weekends.
"They took a lot on themselves," he said.
Although other video productions have been done in his class, Dennis said this is the first time one was entered in a contest.
The video won $300 from the YAC in the three-to-five minute category, and the winners have to decide how to split it four ways. They intend to do another video, this time of the music variety.
Heikkinen said the process for making the video was a little emotional at times.
"It was kind of sad, especially at the cemetery," she said.
The award-winning safe driving video can be seen on Facebook at Safe Driving Video Contest - YAC, or at Dennis' website, mrdennis.net.