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Several of the student and adult volunteers involved with the making of the “Operation Prom-ise 2014” film were recognized Wednesday after the film’s showing at La Salle-Peru Township High School. NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
Didn't get to see it?
“Operation Prom-ise 2014” will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 9 at Putnam County High School. DVDs are available for a $10 donation. Call Rodney Perez at (815) 245-7566. The film is suitable for ages 13 and older.
It was a cross between a movie theater and a funeral service.
That was the scene Wednesday evening in the auditorium at La Salle-Peru Township High School, where the first public showing of the “Operation Prom-ise 2014” film took place.
The room filled quickly after the doors opened with students, parents and other community members excited to see the film that had been in the works for almost a year. But old church hymns came from the piano, and a closed silver casket stood at the front, beneath the stage.
The film would tell the story of area high school seniors going to prom and making some unwise choices with terrible consequences. To bring the story home, the adult, teen and child actors played themselves.
“Tonight is about awareness,” La Salle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne told the audience. “Tonight is about making good choices.”
Guest speaker Lori Brown of Cherry, organizer of the annual Overdose Awareness and Memory Walk, tearfully told the stories of how her daughter was critically injured in an alcohol-related car accident and how her son died of an accidental heroin overdose.
“I didn’t raise a drug addict — I raised a child who tried drugs,” Brown said to the crowd. “The first time you try drugs can kill you.”
More than 100 students and adults from L-P, St. Bede Academy, Hall High School and Putnam County High School worked on the film since June 2013.
“It’s a good message,” said L-P senior Josie Kampwerth, who played a designated driver in the film. “It’s something that isn’t uncommon around here with the DUIs. I think it’s something all the schools need to be involved with.”
For L-P senior Sam George, seeing people she knew in the film was powerful.
“It really touched you, because it was people so close,” she said.
The students hope the film’s message will make people think twice about their choices.
“It’s a very big subject around here,” Kampwerth said. “We’re not saying ‘don’t drink’ — we’re saying ‘if you drink, don’t get behind the wheel.’”