Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) and the Montgomery County Police Department have announced the high school and middle school winners of the 2022-23 “Keeping It Safe Coalition” student video contest. The annual contest encouraged teams from Montgomery County public and private schools to create 30-second public service announcements to educate young people about the risks of under-21 alcohol use.
First place high school winners from Gaithersburg High School were Ethan Butler and Brandon Barrios. They will receive a $1,000 prize. The first-place winners in the middle school category were Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School students Griffin Bhargava, Amit Hegde, Sahnan Gadikota and Samarth Korada. Will receive a $500 prize.
"I want to congratulate this year’s winners as well as all the young people who submitted a video this year for assisting us in getting out this very important message,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Alcohol is the most abused drug by Americans under 21, making it a major public health concern. We need to convey how destructive alcohol abuse can be for young people; alcohol impairs judgment and interferes with normal brain function and can even disrupt healthy brain development when introduced too young."
The winning entries will receive cash prizes for their affiliated school. In this year’s contest, 59 videos were submitted from 27 schools.
“We’re happy to support the Keeping it Safe Coalition, said Kathie Durbin, ABS director. “Raising awareness about the dangers and consequences of under-21 alcohol consumption among students is an important endeavor. These videos will help their peers learn how to fight peer pressure when it comes to alcohol consumption and ways to support friends who have an alcohol problem.”
The coalition announced the winners at an awards ceremony held on May 18 at the Carver Educational Services Center in Rockville.
The 2022-23 high school award winners:
- First Place – Gaithersburg High School. Students Ethan Butler and Brandon Barrios. Will receive a $1,000 prize.
- Second Place – Winston Churchill High School. Students Siena Mezger, Aliza George and Jaina Simon. Will receive a $500 prize.
- Third Place – Thomas S. Wootton High School. Students Alex Pent, Ashley Carr, Bilal Somji and Digonto Chatterjee. Will receive a $350 prize.
- Honorable Mention – Northwood High School. Student Hailie Clarke. Will receive a $100 prize.
- First Place – Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. Students Griffin Bhargava, Amit Hegde, Sahnan Gadikota and Samarth Korada. Will receive a $500 prize.
- Second Place – Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School. Student Karim Sangare. Will receive a $300 prize.
- Third Place – Hallie Wells Middle School. Students Adam Setiadji, Sai Sentihl, Aiden Rolnick, Nikhil Nare and Sid Karnati. Will receive a $250 prize.
- Honorable Mention – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. Students Riya Sanan and Ceinwyn Chambers. Will receive a $100 prize.
The 2022-23 Most Popular Video for high school and middle school entrants went to Winston Churchill High School. Students Siena Mezger, Aliza George, and Jaina Simon. They will receive $150.
The winning videos can be viewed from the ABS website.
Founded in 1992, the Keeping It Safe Coalition (KIS) is an alliance of County departments, local organizations and concerned residents that work to deter underage alcohol access and use. The student video contest was funded by the County Police’s Traffic Division.
Through robust alcohol licensing, compliance and training programs, the Division of Licensing, Regulation and Education (LRE) within ABS ensures the responsible sale and service of alcohol. LRE has been an active supporter of KIS for decades.
ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine, and spirits for Montgomery County and operates 26 retail stores throughout the County. In addition, ABS manages alcohol licensing, enforcement and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $35 million in net income annually, its profits are used to pay down County debt with a large portion deposited in the general fund to pay for resident services that would otherwise be funded by County tax dollars.