Getting the anti-domestic violence message across is much more important than winning awards for a group of Nowra Christian School students.
The students recently took part in a video competition run by the Nowra Domestic Violence Committee and received first and third placings for their outstanding works.
Ulladulla High took second place in the competition.
Nowra Christian School students Charlotte Dickinson and Micah Perry said learning about things like domestic violence was confronting.
The students, at first, said they were a bit hesitant about taking on such a project.
“However, once we had a few lessons and started thinking about ideas I think it flowed quite well,” Micah said.
The students made their own videos and acted in ones being directed by their classmates.
Student Libby Yusef was the driving force behind the winning video but has since moved to Queensland.
Libby was both excited and proud to be part of the winning video.
“Libby’s video is about being in a disrespectful relationship,” Charlotte said.
The video explores the journey taken by a woman as she tries to end this disrespectful relationship and shows her trying to get into a better and more respectful relationship.
“Libby’s video shows that after domestic violence you can get through it and find help be it by phone calls to the White Ribbon Association or to friends and family and that there is always support out there,” Charlotte said.
The 16-year-old year 10 student said she found the project to be an eye-opening one.
“When we were doing the research for it on the White Ribbon website it was very confronting to see the figures and the statistics of how often it happens and who it happens to,” she said.
“Doing the video helped me understand it (domestic violence) through drama.”
“It challenged me in the fact I had to get out of my comfort zone a bit.”Micah Perry
Micah also found it all a bit confronting.
“It took me a while to get an idea that I thought was respectful at the start,” Micah said.
“It challenged me in the fact I had to get out of my comfort zone a bit.”
The 15-year-old year nine student said he used comedy to show a serious topic.
Micah used comedy to lighten the situation but in the end, an important, and strong message was conveyed.
His video came third and Mich directed and acted in it.
His video has a character in it called Captain Quarantine who goes around splitting up relationships that have crossed exaggerated boundaries like people holding hands.
“However, in the end we ask about the situations when we wished we had Captain Quarantine for the times when we do actually need someone to step in when relationships crossed an actual boundary and this hits home hard in the end,” he said
Micah, given there was a need for the DV Committee to run such a competition, said that ‘proud to win’ were not right words to use about the videos.
“I am glad it did well and I am thankful I did the video but I don’t want to go around saying ‘look at me, aren’t I great’,” he said.
How the school got involved
Principal of Nowra Christian School, Rob Bray, decided it would be a good idea to take part in the competition.
He took the proposal to the Secondary Drama teacher Rosie Ellery and things progressed from there.
Mrs Ellery decided it would be a good subject for the students this term. The importance of the topic was the main reason why everyone involved put all their energies in it.
The students and their drama teacher had a good talk about the project before any filming started.
“You tend to start these type of topics by saying to kids ‘this is going to hit home for some of you more than others and this is a reality for some of you’,” Mrs Ellery said.
The students were told if the video project raised issues for them that counselling would be made available to them.
Mrs Ellery said drama could also help students understand difficult topics.
“Drama is an opportunity to explore things in a relatively safe place because you are not necessarily telling your story. You can explore it by telling someone else's story and drama has always been good in that way,” Miss Ellery said.
The teacher said one of the good things was how the students got to talk about what was a respectful relationship and what was not.
“You tend to start these type of topics by saying to kids ‘this is going to hit home for some of you more than others and this is a reality for some of you’.”Rosie Ellery
They produced 24 videos in different formats including documentary style and one even used Lego characters.
Filming took place all over the school. They had a screening session and a vote taken on which ones should be entered in the competition.
Mrs Ellery said she was impressed with the maturity shown by the students.
“They were so supportive of each other,” Mrs Ellery said.
“There were a number of other videos we could have entered in the competition because they were of really high quality.
“We wanted this to be student-driven thing because that is when kids do their best is when they get ownership of it.”
The videos will be used in the future at the school, while the two winning entries will be used by the domestic violence committee.
If you are experiencing violence or suspect someone else is, please contact 1800 RESPECT for advice and support. In an emergency, call the police on 000.