Students from across New Jersey united Friday, May 10, to deliver strong musical messages promoting substance use prevention at the 15th annual New Jersey Shout Down Drugs Prevention Concert at the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theatre on the campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
Twelve musical acts, composed of 22 students from nine different counties, performed songs in the competition that challenges high school students to create original music with lyrics that contain drug-prevention messages.
Jermaine Bethea, a junior at Egg Harbor Township High School, earned second place for his original song, “Wasting Time.”
Tiffany Enemuo, a sophomore at American Christian School in Morris County, won first place for her original song, “Had It All.” Carolina Rial, a resident of Ridgefield in Bergen County and a freshman at Saint Dominic Academy in Jersey City, took home third place for her song, “Breaking Boundaries.”
The winners received music contracts worth $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second place and $2,000 for third place to perform their original songs at statewide events over the next year.
“Through their music, these talented New Jersey high school students have shown their commitment to being peer leaders on the issue of substance use prevention,” Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Executive Director Angelo Valente said. “The New Jersey Shout Down Drugs program is a great example of the impact that teens can have in fighting the current drug epidemic gripping the state and country.”
The 12 finalists earned a spot in the Prevention Concert after being selected by a panel of independent judges, as well as an online vote. A profile of each musical act was featured on ShoutDownDrugs.com, and the public voted for their favorite songs in the months leading up to the Prevention Concert. Online voting began in February and closed at midnight May 9 with more than 50,000 votes cast.
Bert Baron, morning talk show host on 1450 WCTC, served as the master of ceremonies of the program, which was presented by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association and 1450 WCTC.
“Tonight’s performances were a culmination of many months of hard work. All of our finalists are winners,” Valente said.
To watch the Prevention Concert, visit the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s Facebook page.