Your Last Chance to Keep It Real

Where have budding filmmakers had a chance to showcase their work in regional cinemas? The Keep It Real – Don’t Drink video contest!

This annual event has encouraged more than 1,700 students to find creative ways to reach out to their peers, warning about the risk of underage drinking.

And these students have won cash prizes in the process. In fact, one Keep It Real contestant, Parker Young of Garrard High, won three consecutive best-in-show awards and now works at Disney Studios.

The Keep It Real contest encourages individuals and school classes to enter a 30-second PSA addressing underage drinking and the advantages of an alcohol-free lifestyle.

Creativity is encouraged and multiple entries are welcome. The deadline for this year’s contest is Monday, Dec. 17.

Because of budget cuts at the federal level, this is the ninth and final year of the regional contest for high school students.

“This is really sad,” said Donna Wiesenhahn, a Certified Prevention Professional and Keep It Real committee member.

“This has been such a good initiative because it was effective in getting a whole group of young people involved.”

Plans are under way for special culminating activities, so now is the time to be involved.

In the contest, cash prizes are awarded for categories such as Best Direction, Best Editing, Most Original and Best Comedy.

In addition to receiving the top cash award, the Grand Prize winners will see their video on television and as part of the pre-show ads in local cinemas.

All entries are posted on the Keep It Real web site, and in early January the public is invited to pick their favorites. The video that receives the most votes will win the People’s Choice Award.

Why is the anti-underage drinking message so important?

Even though most high school students choose not to drink, in a survey done in the fall of 2010, 39% of 12th graders in Fayette County reported having had an alcoholic beverage within the past 30 days.

Nearly one in four 12th graders reported having five or more drinks (binge drinking) at least once. And 75% reported that it would be easy to get beer, wine or hard liquor.

Research shows that alcohol damages an adolescent’s brain, which is still developing. That’s why underage drinking is not only illegal and unsafe, it is unhealthy to a teen’s cognitive development.

Parents are encouraged to communicate this message to their teens – and to encourage them to Keep it Real.

Info:, or call Tara McGuire at Bluegrass Prevention Center, 859-225-3296.