Four Lake Zurich High School students were honored Friday for their work on a video addressing the issue of teen dating abuse.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon joined Vickie Smith, CEO of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Verizon Wireless executives in presenting sophomores Kasia Konsor, Kati Stavropoulos and Amanda Buckstaff and senior Ian Hesch with iPads for their winning entry in the "No More Teen Dating Abuse" video contest.
Lake Zurich High School received $1,000 for its involvement in the first of what is expected to become an annual statewide contest. Students from all Illinois high schools last fall were invited to submit videos promoting healthy relationships in a contest sponsored by Verizon and coordinated by the ICADV and Simon's office.
"Our students are never too young to learn about healthy relationships, and often that message is stronger when it comes from your peers," Simon said in a statement. "This contest draws attention to teen dating violence and will hopefully spur conversations in high schools across the state that violence is never OK."
The video was not part of a class project but done outside of school, according to Jean Malek, Lake Zurich Unit District 95 spokeswoman.
The contest was to produce a 30-second spot that could be used as a public service announcement. It will be distributed to media outlets and posted on the ICADV and high school websites, she added.
"If you could rewind it, would you see the signs?" the narrator asks to open the winning entry. Among signs of an abusive relationship are control, violence, anger, disrespect, obsession and jealousy viewers are told. "Or would you hold on to what you thought was love?"
The message is to say no to abuse and yes to a healthy relationship.
Information from the ICADV shows dating abuse is common: One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and nearly one quarter of all high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse, according to the statistics.
Domestic violence can start at any age, according to Vicki Smith, CEO of ICADV, and the video is a small step in the fight against it.