Montgomery County Council Press Releases & Statements

Roberto Clemente Middle School Students Win DVCC Teen Dating Violence Awareness ‘Choose Respect’ Contest
  • Release ID: 12-051
  • Release Date: 3/12/2012
  • Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939 or Delphine Harriston240-777-7931
  • From: Council Office
ROCKVILLE, Md., March 12, 2012—Roberto Clemente Middle School students Mirabella Roberts, Julian Avenilla, Jean-Young Kim and Daniel Arze have been named the first-place winners of a contest in which Montgomery County middle and high school students had the opportunity to create short videos or productions in other media in recognition of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.

The “Choose Respect Montgomery Teen Dating Public Service Announcement Contest” was co-sponsored by Verizon Wireless and Montgomery County’s Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. The Roberto Clemente team produced the winning video entitled “It’s Never Fine.” The video depicted the anguish a young person in an abusive dating relationship experiences as she considers disclosing the abuse to a friend. Teacher James Dempsey at Roberto Clemente Middle School encouraged all his 8th grade students to participate in the contest.

The winning team was awarded a $1,000 cash prize from Verizon Wireless. All winners will be recognized on Saturday, March 24, at the third annual “Choose Respect Montgomery Teen Dating Conference” at the Cultural Arts Center of the Takoma Park campus of Montgomery College. For details on the free conference and to register, go to

The contest, publicized to all public and private schools in Fall 2011, challenged teens in grades 7-12 to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) on the topic of teen dating violence. PSA submissions had to portray an element of teen dating abuse and be relevant to teens. The inclusion of a national or local dating abuse hotline number was also encouraged. More than 15 entries were submitted and judged in February in recognition of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.

It is estimated that abuse occurs in one in three teen dating relationships.

“Teen dating abuse is a serous problem,” said County Councilmember Phil Andrews, chair of the County’s Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. “The best way to address it is to make youth more aware of it and how to get help if it happens to them or to someone they know. This contest served several purposes. It allowed students to use the media skills that so many of them now acquire at a young age. And in encouraging them to produce the videos, their research allowed them to learn more about teen dating violence—and to tell their peers about it in a way they could relate.”

Second place in the contest was an entry created by Sherwood High School students Cesar Martinez and Cara Dekelbaum. They won a $750 prize from Verizon Wireless for their PSA that portrays the escalation of dating abuse from extreme possessiveness that ultimately evolves to physical abuse in order to gain control.

Roberto Clemente Middle School student Valencia Fu won the $500 third prize from Verizon Wireless for creating a slide production that subtlety reveals that both genders can be victims of dating abuse. It also exhibits that dating abuse significantly and negatively impacts one's self-esteem.

“On behalf of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, I would like to thak Verizon Wireless and to extend great appreciation to all the students who participated in this year’s contest,” said Councilmember Andrews. “Their research and creativity will go a long way in helping us raise awareness, and ultimately, prevent teen dating abuse.”

To view the three projects judged as the contest’s best, go to the following:

1st place award:
2nd place award:
3rd place award:

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