Josh Valle, a resident teen of HCDI’s Liberty Hill Town Houses, won Anthony D. Gulluni’s Stop the Swerve PSA challenge with his Springfield Central High School teammates earlier this spring. Valle won the $10,000 first prize award in the Hampden District Attorney’s video production competition along with teammates Gia Mateo and Dominic Lupian. Springfield Central High won $12,000 out of $37,000 total distributed, competing against all high schools in 27 cities and towns in Hampden County.
Stop the Swerve is a year-long educational program including interactive exhibits like impairment goggles activities, and hands-on first aid demonstrations. The program objective is to teach young adults about the dangers of impaired, drunk, and drugged driving at a time when they are forming their driving habits.
The video production team in their broadcast studio at Springfield Central High School. Back: Michael Aloisi (Teacher), Josh Valle; Front: Gia Mateo, Jayden Philbrick (runner-up prize winner).
Michael Aloisi, the video production teacher at Central High School included this as part of his AP Video Production/Video Broadcast curriculum. Three teams from that class entered, and all three won a prize. “They really took their time, focused, and worked hard,” Aloisi said. As part of his teaching, Aloisi encouraged the students to think outside of the box and do something different than what might normally be done for a drunk driving commercial.
“What I was expecting was everyone was going to do the ‘errr—schhhh’ sound effect, like a fake car,” Valle said. They wanted to do something different. “We took two days to think of an idea, we wanted to make sure it was solid.” Valle wrote the script, and his teammates gave input as they worked together.
“It was a process,” Mateo, one of Valle’s teammates and a talented photographer and dancer, said, “Finally Josh was like, oh I have this idea … and we just went with it.” Like any creative process they weren’t sure how it was going to turn out, “It turned out pretty well for us,” she said.
Valle gave a lot of credit to their teacher, Aloisi, and his classes, “We have a lot of faith in what we do, and we have fun doing it, we can’t wait to get to his class.”
Coming to Central High School six years ago with a BFA in film directing from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, an MFA in writing, and a prolific writing career with global recognition, Aloisi revamped the studio with new equipment upon his arrival, and constantly pushes the students to think creatively and outside the box.
The winning video “Would Have” – a simple yet highly impactful example of visual storytelling within the challenging time limit of 30 seconds or less, can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/EF9NsbMH0cg. The award money will go towards new equipment for the video production department, and Valle and his teammates were a part of that decision making process.
“It was for sure an amazing experience,” Valle said. “Hopefully I can enter competitions like that again. Who wouldn’t want to be rewarded for their work especially when it has to do with something so important like drinking and driving. I was glad to participate.”