By Derek Tyson, The Welch News Editor
MCDOWELL COUNTY – The McDowell County Student Pack is back at it again with a brand new public service announcement video called “Social Warning,” highlighting how social media presence can follow you throughout life.
Bringing the story to life was local filmmaker J.D. Belcher, working alongside McDowell County students to bring awareness to their fellow classmates.
“You’re not thinking about it now, but something you posted three years ago is still on Facebook,” said Belcher. “You may have changed your life completely in that time, starting being responsible but now all of the sudden, you’re fired from your job.”
The goal of the Student Pack is to give the children of McDowell County their own voice and narrative while providing a positive outlet for their creativity. With their podcast, the students have opened up about the issues in both school and in the community. With their video PSAs, they seek to address the issues.
River View Senior Chloe Lester was able to put previous theater experience to work as the main character of the PSA, Cindy.
“Being in my character Cindy’s shoes for two days moved me,” said Lester. “I really hope when people watch this, that Cindy puts an impression on them to think before they act, especially with how they use their internet privileges.”
Co-starring along with Lester was one of her favorite teachers at River View High School, Chasity Kennedy.
“I absolutely had a blast filming,” said Kennedy. “I play Ms. Underwood, a hardworking, kind teacher that wants her students to succeed.”
Kennedy and her husband George co-teach the elective College and Career Readiness course at River View.
“He’s a retired State Police Sergeant and he and I preach this very issue to our students daily,” said Kennedy. “Some of them don’t realize how detrimental the consequences can be.”
Kennedy felt that the PSA would create many teachable moments in the classrooms to help students examine their social media presence and the consequences it could create.
“We should all be aware of the things we post online,” said Kennedy. “It only takes one minute to ask ourselves, ‘How will this be perceived by the public?’”
“Being a school system, we deal with the fallout of social media a lot,” said Superintendent Carolyn Falin. “By getting the kids involved and having them participate in a solid conversation about, we’re hoping it will help.”
Social Warning will be available for view on Thursday, December 12th, 2019 on the McDowell County Student Pack Facebook page as well as McDowell County Schools’ page.
JD Belcher also filmed a classroom discussion companion piece to accompany the PSA, featuring Superintendent Falin and Assistant Principal Tim Kennedy.
“It’ll be a 45 minute discussion about what to do if a student encounters a predator online or some other troubling situations,” said Belcher. “Also what parents can do to help control situations and to ease online bullying and the dangers of that. We want to encourage the students to be proactive with their social diaries.”
Mount View High School previously created a PSA called “Attendance,” starring Sam Dudgeon, that highlighted the importance of attendance and gave a deeper look into why a student may not be in the classroom.
“We get kids to work on these productions, getting hands-on experience with it,” said Belcher. “We just want to give them a chance to tell their own story.”
Learn more about the McDowell County Student Pack at jointhefamily.info or on Facebook.