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Student Video Earns $10,000 Grant For Weber Middle School

“Everybody Needs a Friend,” a video made by students at Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School in Port Washington, won the $10,000 grand prize in the annual Mutt-i-grees “America Adopts” PSA (public service announcement) contest.

The contest is a nationwide initiative to raise awareness about the availability and desirability of shelter pets—otherwise known as Mutt-i-grees. Students from across the country submitted creative PSAs encouraging Americans to adopt from their local shelter or rescue group.

The winning video makers are a group of nine seventh-graders from Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School. They didn’t know each other before they began visiting their former technology teachers Danny Ciccone and Tommy Stepanek at lunchtime, forming an unofficial “lunch club.” When their teachers told them about the competition, the “lunch club” switched into high gear and produced their winning video in just a few days.

Their video illustrates the loneliness and isolation that is shared by both people and animals, seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy and a homeless dog who discovers the benefits of companionship with one another.

Attending school assemblies about bullying led them to the correlation between the emotions that kids feel when they are bullied—isolated and lonely—and the emotions shelter animals might feel, the students said.

The school plans to use the $10,000 grant for video and production equipment to help foster future student collaborations, including a video display in the school’s hallway so that student-produced work can be seen by everyone in the building on a regular basis.