WESTFORD -- Three students in Nashoba Valley Technical High School's TV & Media Production/Theatre Arts program won first prize in the Middlesex Partnerships for Youth's contest to produce a public-service announcement about the benefits of community service.
John Stavro, a junior at the time, from Billerica, wrote, produced and directed the video, which stars James Lisciotto, of Chelmsford, and also features Aislinn Wolfe, of Pepperell, as well as Jeremy Slotnick, an English teacher at Nashoba Tech.
The PSA, called "Take Time to Get Involved," was submitted to the MPY contest, which required teams of high-school and middle-school students to produce a 30- to 60-second PSA with the theme "CommUnity Involves You."
The students' video stars James as a student who participates in a fund drive to raise money for a local food pantry. Soon, word spreads through the school, and he ends up collecting much more than his original goal and being recognized by the school. It ends with the words: "Helping your community helps build your future. CommUnity involves you. Take time to get involved today."
The PSA was one of five finalists, and the finalists' videos were shown at several middle and high schools, where students voted to select the winner.
The three students were invited appear on a recent Fox 25 morning newscast, where Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan sad their video will be shown at high schools throughout the county next school year.
Another team from Nashoba Tech was also a finalist in the contest. That PSA, called "CommUnity," was produced by sophomores Cynthia Long of Pepperell and Andrew Mahoney of Townsend, and featured sophomores Amber Joyce of Pepperell and Camron Clark of Chelmsford.
The other finalists were from Somerville High School, Ottoson Middle School in Arlington and Melrose High School.
Nashoba Tech has made it to the finals in the MPY PSA contest in past years, but this is the first year more than one team from the school made it to the finals and the first year a team from the school won the contest.
About 130 students participated in the contest, and 33 videos were submitted. They were first reviewed and judged by a panel that included educators, law-enforcement personnel and staff members from the DA's Office, before being judge by students throughout Middlesex County.
"I am so proud of the work of Middlesex County students in creating these videos," Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan. "All of the entries were creative in their interpretation of this year's theme. We wanted students to think about their role in their community, both inside and outside of school. ... When students create the message, they can motivate their peers and effect change."
To view the finalists' videos, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvhhc2p8sOM&feature-youtu.be.
Middlesex Partnerships for Youth is a nonprofit organization that provides prevention and intervention resources and training to Middlesex County school districts and communities. Ryan is the chairwoman of the board of directors.