Return to Headlines

OBEN Tops PSEG PSA Contest

vernon psa finalists 3 8th graders pseg

Beating more than 200 contestants in the PSEG PSA contest, top 10 winners Skyler Placella and Abigail Rudnet with their fifth-grade teachers Ms. Diana Hauser and Mr. Frank Sommo, respectively. At right, eighth-grade teacher Ms. Lisa McDougal with students James Catania and Jose Velasquez, who were also among the top 10 winners. See their PSAs below.

Students in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District know what it takes to deliver an effective public service announcement (PSA).  Eighth-grade students James Catania and Jose Velasquez, and fifth-grade students Skyler Placella and Abigail Rudnet were top 10 winners in the PSEG Long Island I Am EM-Powered PSA Contest.

The program, held in conjunction with Earth Week, empowers students in grades 4-8 to make a difference by learning ways to conserve energy and protect the environment, and inspiring others to take action by creating a clear, effective PSA.

Eight-grade science teacher Ms. Lisa McDougal and fifth-grade teachers Ms. Diana Hauser and Mr. Frank Sommo prepared students through science lessons on ecology and conservation, and taught students the fundamentals of what makes a successful PSA with resources supplemented by PSEG.

“According to PSEG’s guidelines, the videos had to be 35-45 seconds long, only students could partake in the PSA, and they had to be set in different forms,” said Mr. Sommo, whose student, Abigail, was a top 10 winner. “They gave us a rubric to grade them and then we submitted three from each class,” he said.

Nearly 210 videos from local school districts were submitted and judged by a panel of experts. Using specific criteria, they selected the best 35 videos, then the top 15 and then the 10 winners. PSEG announced the winners in a Zoom that showcased the winning PSAs. Each top 10 winner was awarded a $75 Amazon gift card. A $100 Amazon gift card went to their teachers and another $100 gift card went to their class with hopes that they could have a safe but fun class celebration.

“The PSA served as a great culminating activity to our ecology/resources units,” said Ms. Hauser, who student, Skyler, won the entire contest. “Our students had fun learning about what makes a good PSA, the components; what’s important in a PSA, and then picking a topic that they were passionate about to create a video to motivate others to make a change.”  

Ms. McDougal added, “In the eighth-grade curriculum we cover human impact on the environment; I loved how this contest allowed students to explore the topic in a creative way. While researching information for their PSAs, students learned more about the small changes they can make to help the environment and enabled them to apply the content to solve real-world problems.”

Dr. Janna Ostroff, K-12 Supervisor for Science and Instructional Technology commended the students and teachers for participating in the PSEG program. “This program reinforces what is being taught in the classroom in a hands-on, interactive way so that students remember important skills that they will use throughout their lives.”