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Nine Virgin Islands Students Triumph in Contest Spotlighting Substance Abuse and Violence Awareness

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In a remarkable showcase of artistic expression and social consciousness, nine students from the Virgin Islands have triumphed in the Public Service Announcement Contest organized by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program.

The contest, announced by United States Attorney Delia L. Smith and HIDTA Deputy Director James N. Doby, highlighted the creative talents of students from Alfredo Andrews Elementary School in St. Croix and Julius Sprauve School in St. John.

Held between September 11 and October 16, 2023, the competition engaged students in grades 6 through 8. They were challenged to craft and produce public service announcement videos addressing critical issues such as substance abuse, violence, and peer pressure. This initiative saw enthusiastic participation from the students, and a panel of judges selected two outstanding videos from the numerous submissions.

U.S. Attorney Smith commended the project, stating, “The HIDTA public service announcement competition offered a platform for our students to voice their concerns about gun violence and substance abuse in our community. Their imaginative and insightful contributions have been a source of inspiration for all of us.”

The Virgin Islands HIDTA Prevention Initiative, collaborating with various local and federal entities including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the VI Department of Education, and law enforcement agencies, demonstrates the significance of united efforts in nurturing community growth. Drug Intelligence Officer Rodney F. Querrard highlighted the necessity of such collaboration, saying, “Joint efforts across all levels of government, both local and federal, are crucial to steer the Virgin Islands towards a brighter future. By working together, we can effect real change.”

The student winners were celebrated in ceremonies on November 8 and 9 at their schools, with classmates, teachers, and officials in attendance. Rewards for the winners included gift cards worth $100 to $500, achievement certificates, gift bags from Liberty VI and VIYA, and Red Ribbon Week merchandise.

Since its launch in 2022, the VI HIDTA Prevention Initiative has guided over 6,000 students in the territory, focusing on preventing drug use, crime, and peer pressure, and is dedicated to fostering a crime-free community.

For further details on the HIDTA program and its initiatives, visit https://prvihidta.org/ and https://www.dea.gov/redribbon.

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