Jags Fans to Get Straight Talk from Bartram Trail Students

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Times-Union staff writer

Jaguars fans may learn a lesson about abstinence and AIDS at a home game this fall, and it will come from students at Bartram Trail High School.

Their 30-second video will be shown at home games as part of the first prize they won in the Straight Talk Public Service Announcement Contest, part of the long-running teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease forum presented by the Jaguars Foundation.

The Northwest St. Johns County school's video was made by Bruce Allie's television production students, and ends with a warning that only "you can save yourself."

"They felt that a message about the loss of life was probably the most direct way to get across to people how important abstinence is to preventing sexually transmitted diseases, and the only proven way to prevent AIDS," he said. "Our hope was always to win the whole thing. I am also a coach, so I try to instill in them that ours be the best out there."

Video messages from Fruit Cove Middle School and Fleming Island High School were the runners-up.

Straight Talk gives teens and parents information on sex, diseases and the problems faced by being sexually active, and the annual televised town hall forums are broadcast on local television stations each summer. Jaguars Foundation officials say abstinence is their first choice for prevention, but they do support a more comprehensive sex education regimen that will enable teens to make more responsible choices, which may include contraception.

The foundation asked students to produce public service announcements about teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease prevention, aimed at middle school students and aired during the forum. Foundation officials said they left the message of each PSA up to the schools.

Videos from Terry Parker, Bartram Trail, Hilliard and Fleming Island high schools, Stanton College Preparatory School, Matthew Gilbert and Fruit Cove middle schools, and the Foundation Academy were selected as semi-finalists and aired during Straight Talk in late May. Viewers could vote on their favorite on the Straight Talk Web site, which is hosted and produced by Jacksonville.com. The eight semi-finalists were reviewed by a panel to ensure creativity and broadcast standards.

Bartram Trail High School's PSA shows students leaning against lockers as a voice intones that "every five seconds, someone is infected with HIV." Students fade away as a voice adds that "every 10 seconds, someone will die from the virus." It ends by saying abstinence is the only proven method of preventing AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Along with getting their video shown at a Jaguars game, Allie's team gets a tour of Clear Channel Studios and Jaguars Broadcasting and an invitation to the owner's suite at a preseason Jaguars game, and will shadow the Jaguars' broadcast team. …