| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Avonworth middle-schoolers' anti-viral video catches on

Trib Total Media has built a searchable statewide database and interactive map that enables taxpayers easily to compare salaries in schools throughout Pennsylvania. The database uses public personnel data from the state Department of Education to create the first user-friendly tool of its kind for finding and comparing pay for Pennsylvania teachers and administrators.

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By Daveen Rae Kurutz
Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009

There was no way Ashley Abernephy was going to shake hands with an Ohio Township police officer without protecting herself from germs — so she pumped some hand sanitizer on the officer's hand.

"I saw the hand sanitizer in my bookbag, and realized I should put it on his hand to get my point across," said Abernephy, 13, of Ohio Township, an eighth-grader at Avonworth Middle School. "I hope everyone takes precautions."

That's why Abernephy and her classmates created a video released on YouTube last week to offer tips on how to protect their peers from H1N1 infection. In the video, which had nearly 800 hits by Wednesday afternoon, students in Michael Lincoln's communication technologies class meld a mock newscast with footage of "secret agents" chasing down those not washing their hands properly.

"It started out as an instructional video on handwashing, but progressed to a full-blown movie we could imagine students watching," Lincoln said. "They figured how many students want to sit there and watch someone washing their hands?"

The video quickly gained popularity, with more than 500 hits before the weekend. Avonworth hasn't had any H1N1 cases — to school officials' knowledge — and students hope to keep it that way.

"A lot of students have seen our video, and I think it will help us from getting it," said Erika Nosal, 14, of Ohio Township, who played a suspect in the video. "I'm slightly worried because it's so contagious."

Students wrote, starred in, produced and directed the video, which was the technologies class' first project. The 18-week course focuses on teaching students how to use technology to get a message across so they aren't just the recipient of media messages. Lincoln said he hopes his students learn the power of viral advertising from the project.

Nosal did.

"There are signs everywhere telling you to wash your hands, but we incorporated humor into our message and tried to present it in a way that people would want to pass the message on," Nosal said. "People are noticing it."

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Steelers kicker Boswell puts best foot forward
  2. Robert Morris drops to 0-5 after overtime loss to New Mexico St.
  3. McIntyre students hope Buddy Bench is beneficial to all
  4. Southmoreland wrestling team takes old-school approach
  5. Pittsburgh man charged with 56 counts after high-speed chase over weekend
  6. Sounds of Christmas coming to Fay-West region
  7. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review athletes of the week: Sewickley Academy’s Jackson O’Neill, USC’s Emma Hasco
  8. Steelers notebook: Tomlin not grooming successor to RB Williams
  9. Occupying playoff spot on Thanksgiving good harbinger for Penguins
  10. Burrell school officials update education goals
  11. HObo Model Railroad Club display back in Connellsville