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Ten DC middle school students awarded $3,000 for flu prevention video

Feb. 15, 2010

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

DASSEL-COKATO, MN – Ten middle school students were presented with a $3,000 check Thursday for a public service announcement about flu prevention.

“Don’t Be Flu-Lish: Tips for Staying Healthy This Flu Season” was the grand prize winner in the Kohl’s and Children’s Influenza Prevention Project for Kids. For the full video and a picture of the students, click here.

The students, mostly eighth graders, were part of the school’s “Unplugged” newscast (shown weekly) under the advisory of Sue Sparboe and Pam Beckermann.

The nine students who worked on the video were Caleb Hendrickson, Trent Krekelberg, Jack Raisanen, Kristina Tormanen, Gabriella Funk, Matthew Hendrickson, Mercedes Lemke, Katie Tillman, Ashley Stahl, and Michael Chvojicek.

Since the video was intended to teach middle school and high school students about flu prevention, the team wanted to put some humor into the production to better capture their audience.

The students used a newscast format with a “Don’t Be Flu-Lish” special report to get the important message across of flu prevention.

The video could be no longer than two minutes, and it had to address four main areas: covering a cough, washing hands, getting vaccinated, and staying home when sick.

The students then came up with a little skit showing both the improper and proper ways to prevent the spread of flu.

For example, in one skit, an actor was shown blowing his nose into a tissue and was about to shake the hand of a fellow actor.

Another actor then showed how to cough into a shirt sleeve and how to properly wash hands.

“It was a fun and exciting challenge for the students,” Beckermann said.

Their ability to work as a group was also complimented.

“The kids are just so creative – they are a great group to work with,” she added.

Because the flu had affected the school, causing a large number of absences, the students could relate with the subject and understood it’s importance, Sparboe explained.

“It was a topic that was relevant, which made it more interesting for them to work with,” she said.

The students could track the video submissions on the contest’s web site so they knew the competition was strong.

Hearing the students were the top winners over 46 entries made the victory even more exciting, Sparboe said.

The $3,000 the school received will likely go toward enhancing the “Unplugged” program.

A field trip to a television recording studio may also be on the horizon for the winners.

This video was the judges’ favorite because there were a lot of students involved in the video, there was a good flavor of humor, and it focused on the individual’s responsibility to protect oneself.

In addition to the check presentation, Thursday’s assembly included influenza prevention education activities and giveaways, including free bottles of foaming hand sanitizer for kids.

The influenza prevention project was in collaboration with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics and Kohl’s Cares for Kids program, a subsidiary of Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc.

Kohl’s donated $441,259 to Children’s Hospitals and Clinic for the flu prevention project.


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