A LURGAN school has been shortlisted to lead a nationwide campaign to stamp out texting while driving.
A team from the Lurgan campus of Craigavon Senior High School are down to the final three in a Cool FM competition tied in an ‘X the TXT’ campaign to discourage motorists from texting whilst driving.
Pupils at the school were encouraged to submit their ideas for an clip depicting the possible horrific results of texting when behind the wheel of a car, with English teacher Linda Kelly urging pupils to come up with “something fresh that hadn’t been done before”.
An idea from 16-year-old Hannah Gardiner from Waringstown was picked as the best entry and submitted to the Cool FM competition.
Representatives from Allstate NI, Cool FM, DOE and PSNI shortlisted Hannah’s idea along with submissions from Ulidia College, Belfast and South Eastern Regional College.
Hannah’s vision was then turned into a storyboard which was subsequently made into a short video clip.
Hannah was joined in a production team by other students from her year group including Faith Parks (15) from Lurgan, Christopher Ellis (15) from Waringstown, Zoe Beattie (16) from Gilford, Chloe McKinley (16) from Dromore and Kyle Robinson (16) from Lurgan.
The team was led by English teacher Linda Kelly and Librarian Valerie Stretton.
Rather than focus on a car crash, Hannah’s short clip tells the story of a young family and the devastating effect texting whilst driving has on them.
The video is expertly shot and is linked together with a voiceover by Sonia Mac.
Hannah said: “I thought it would be a good idea to make the story more about the child and his mother than focus on a car crash. Instead of showing a car accident we used the child playing with toy cars to tie in with the driving aspect.”
Faith added: “It was a great experience to see how things work from having the initial idea to get the video made. I can’t believe the whole thing was filmed in a day.”
The filming took place at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald and Cool FM studios and featured actors from Allstate NI (though the back of Christopher’s hand also made an appearance in the final cut).
Mrs Kelly said: “I am so surprised and proud of Hannah’s achievement. She is the youngest entrant to reach the final and the only student of a school outside Belfast to do so.
“Mrs Stretton and I really enjoyed working with Hannah and the other students in the library after school.
“They were really inspired by the subject of the competition, as is evidenced by the imaginative and emotive clip which they have produced.
“We have no Media Studies at GCSE here but it goes to show children are interested and more than capable of making their mark.”
The finalists’ video clips can be viewed on the Cool FM website where there is an opportunity to vote for your favourite clip.
In addition Sonia Mac is promoting Hannah’s video each night on her 10pm show.
The winning entrant will receive £1,000 for their school and tickets to a concert of their choice at the Odyssey.