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New Paltz student wins AdkAction PSA contest

New Paltz High School student Emily Kucharczyk’s winning public service announcement about COVID-19 featured cleaning spray and retro fashion. (Photo provided)

SARANAC LAKE — AdkAction has announced that Emily Kucharczyk of New Paltz High School is the winner of its student COVID-19 Public Service Announcement Contest, earning a $1,000 prize.

The contest was open to all middle and high school students in New York and garnered 53 entries. With a theme of “Spread the Word, Not the Virus,” it shared students’ advice based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Submissions were judged by a panel of educators, nonprofit leaders and video production professionals.

Kucharczyk’s winning entry was titled “A Vintage COVID-19 PSA.”

“When I heard about the project from my teacher, I had a vision of the shot where I held up a bottle of cleaning spray; I just saw the vintage theme in my head and went with it,” Kucharczyk said in a press release. “I love the creative freedom that comes with making movies — it’s one of the best ways to express your art.”

Her winning entry, plus three Honorable Mention finalists who will each receive a $100 prize, can be watched at AdkAction.org/psa.

New Paltz High School student Emily Kucharczyk’s winning public service announcement about COVID-19 featured cleaning spray. (Photo provided)

In addition to a cash prize, the winning entry will be showcased on television and at the Beyond the Peaks Student Film Festival on June 4. This year’s festival will also be open to entrants across the state. Submissions will be accepted from Feb. 10 through April 23 at www.adkaction.org/project/student-film-festival.

“Our annual Beyond the Peaks Student Film Festival empowers students by offering them a platform and an audience for their creative expression. By running this PSA contest in advance of the festival, we were able to give students a timely opportunity to promote public health while advancing their filmmaking skills,” said Brittany Christenson, executive director of AdkAction, a Saranac Lake-based nonprofit organization whose mission is “to create projects that address unmet needs, promote vibrant communities, and preserve the character of the Adirondacks.”

“With the addition of the COVID-19 PSA challenge offered to students throughout the state of New York, not only have we reached a new level of exposure; we have upped the game for the students within the Adirondack Park,” noted Wendy Cross, Tupper Lake Central School District art teacher and co-organizer of the Beyond the Peaks Student Film Festival. “I believe regional students will see this increased level of competition as a motivator to create well-planned, compelling films for the spring festival!”

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