Tuesday, May 13, 2008

McDonnell: Staunton students win VA Youth Internet Safety Contest

Students at Staunton's Robert E. Lee High School Produce Winning Ad

Staunton - Attorney General Bob McDonnell today announced the winner in the Virginia Youth Internet Safety Contest. Through a statewide online vote, “Abduction,” a 30-second TV ad created by three high school students at Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton, was chosen as the winning entry. McDonnell let the winning students know the good news in a 10:30a.m phone call with the students and their principal. The winning ad will appear on cable television stations across Virginia this summer, in the Attorney General’s latest outreach to educate children and parents about Internet safety.

Of the 3,044 votes cast online between March 26 and May 1, “Abduction” received 60 percent of the total vote. “Cyber Nightmares,” produced by three high school students from Tallwood High School in Virginia Beach, came in second with 21 percent of the vote. And “Public Announcement,” by three middle school students at Sussex Central Middle School in Sussex County, came in third. (Specific information about the winning teams can be found below)

The three finalists were selected out of more than 200 submissions from 85 schools across Virginia. The three ads can be seen at www.projectsafetynetva.com.

In addition to seeing their TV ad air across Virginia, the team from Staunton also won Microsoft X-Box 360s; a private film screening, to be held later this summer, of a new Fox movie with 70 of their friends; and bags of Fox DVDs. The second place team received Microsoft X-Box 360s and a bag of Fox DVD’s. Third place team members received a bag of Fox DVDs.

“I want to congratulate Kyle, Jonathan and Jeremiah for winning the contest. I also want to congratulate our other finalists for their exemplary ads. It was inspiring to see how much talent Virginia students possess,” Attorney General McDonnell said. “I salute all the students who worked so hard on all the videos that were entered in the contest, as we work together to educate Virginians about Internet safety. I know this contest has made a positive difference in our ongoing effort to encourage Virginia students to be safe when they go online.”

McDonnell continued, “I look forward to seeing the winning ad, ‘Abduction,’ air statewide. I want to specifically thank Microsoft, News Corporation and MySpace, AOL, the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association, Erickson Barnett and the Virginia Department of Education for partnering with us in this effort. This contest was a success because of their hard work and shared commitment to the goal of increasing online safety.”

“AOL commends the time and effort that all of the entrants put into this contest, and we are quite impressed with the results," said Will Castleberry, National Director of State Public Policy for AOL. "In addition, we would like to thank General McDonnell for his continued leadership in the efforts to safeguard Virginia’s youth. We are proud to be his partner in making the Internet a safer place for children.”

“Microsoft has been honored to sponsor the Virginia Attorney General’s Public Safety Announcement contest,” said Anne Gavin, Senior Director for Microsoft State Government Affairs. “Internet safety awareness is a top priority for Microsoft, and we are proud to work with state and local governments to stay ahead of this critical issue. It is encouraging to see the young people of Virginia taking a proactive role in educating their peers on this important topic.”

“General McDonnell and his team have succeeded in figuring out and implementing innovative ways to reach younger users of the Internet about how to be safe online,” said Rick Lane, Senior Vice President of News Corporation. “News Corporation and MySpace are proud to sponsor this important online safety PSA contest and congratulate all of the winners. We are especially looking forward to seeing Kyle, Jonathan, Jeremiah and 70 of their closest friends at the Fox screening this summer in Staunton in recognition of their winning online safety PSA.”

“The Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association and its member cable systems are very pleased to have participated in this important initiative on youth internet safety,” added Ray LaMura, President of the VCTA. “It was very exciting to see the level of participation from teens across Virginia, who recognize the importance of this issue. The VCTA also wishes to commend Attorney General McDonnell and his team for the focus that they have brought to the topic of youth internet safety.”

The Virginia Youth Internet Safety Contest was announced last September. The submission deadline for the contest was February 1. Entries were narrowed down by the Attorney General’s Office, and the finalists were selected by the Attorney General’s Youth Internet Safety Advisory Committee. Posters advertising the contest were placed in schools throughout Virginia in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Education, and print ads telling parents and children about the contest appeared in Virginia publications.

The contest is part of the Attorney General’s “Project SafetyNet VA” public awareness campaign about Internet safety. Resulting from the Attorney General’s Youth Internet Safety Task Force, which met July through December 2006, it is a joint effort, led by the Attorney General, to educate and raise awareness among Virginia's children and parents about the dangers of the Internet through innovative initiatives. The Attorney General's Youth Internet Safety Advisory Committee meets regularly to implement these educational initiatives and is comprised of leaders representing education, law enforcement, parents, faith-based organizations, elected officials, community leaders and the technology industry.

About the Finalists in the Virginia Youth Internet Safety Contest

Robert E. Lee High School, Staunton (The Winner)
Kyle Head
Jonathan Fisher
Jeremiah Eckard
Faculty Sponsor: Paul Kricorian
Principal: J. Clay Chandler
Entry Name: “Abduction”

Tallwood High School, Virginia Beach (Second place)
Kyle Windley
Megan Gregg
Rayne Clinton
Faculty Sponsor: Leslie Allman
Principal: Jobynia Caldwell
Entry Name: “Cyber Nightmares”

Sussex Central Middle School, Sussex (Third place)
Autumn Woodard
Abi Dodson
Connor Ricard
Faculty Sponsor: Lauren Elliot
Principal: Ms. Nancy Coner
Entry Name: “Public Announcement: Internet Safety”

Cross-posted at SixtyFour81.com

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