Ocean Springs Students Win Grand Prize In Movie Contest

Representatives from The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi made the big announcement: "You all entered out Question It Movie Maker contest, and you won the grand prize"!

Zina Dartez's seventh graders couldn't believe they won the statewide script writing contest, until they saw their prizes -- a computer, digital camera and $500 dollars.

Lyndsey Thomas said "Oh my gosh, we were so speechless! It took us like a full 20 minutes to sink in. We were very, very excited".

The students wrote a script that explores what it means to be tobacco, alcohol and drug free. Addison Dent said "It's about a normal girl who goes into a club with all these extreme people, with spikes and Mohawks".

Lyndsey Thomas said "So she sits down and lights up a cigarette, hoping to look cool. That's when everything stops and freezes.  Suddenly, the normal girl isn't so normal anymore".

The idea was inspired by personal experiences in the students' lives. John Mangum said "My uncle, he was a big smoker and drinker, and last year he died of cancer. He went through a lot of pain, and I wouldn't want anybody to go through that much pain".

Their creative script beat out more than 200 middle and high school entries from across Mississippi. The students will now produce the movie, with help from a pro. Jim Dollarhide is an Oscar nominated filmmaker from Mississippi.

Jim Dollarhide said "We liked the simplicity of your idea, and so we're going to help you do it. I'm going to help you think outside the box, and expand the story. Maybe we can come up with some twists to the story".

The story may change slightly, but the final message will stay the same. Lyndsey Thomas said "It goes to a black screen, and the screen says if you think smoking is cool, you're wrong".

The students hope to finish making the short movie before Christmas. The class will get to unveil the movie at a premier party.