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White Plains Students Film Texting and Driving PSA

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- When Travis Rithem-Williamson says "mic check, mic check," the teenage students of his video production class at the White Plains Library say "Media Monsters on deck."

Rithem-Williamson, whose production company, Media Monsters, is based in White Plains, accepted the library's invitation to teach the class of high school-age students, who are creating a public service announcement about texting while driving. The PSA will be aired on the White Plains public access channel sometime in June.

"This is actually a pioneer program because the library hasn't done anything like this in it's history," said Rithem-Williamson, who tells his students they are pioneers.

Haqqiquah Ford, 16, is one of five students from White Plains High School participating in the class, which began April 28 and will conclude June 2 with what the library is calling a red carpet premiere.

"No message is going to catch everybody, but you just want to get as many out there as you can, and you never know whose life you could save," said Kim Bacot, whose daughters Raquel and Ashley, from the Bronx, are participating in the class.

After spending the first few weeks learning how to use the equipment and writing the script to the "Ex the Text Campaign," the students began filming the PSA, Rithem-Williamson said.

The campaign is paid for by a grant from The Allstate Foundation to the White Plains Library Foundation, said library director Brian Kenney.

Ford's mother suggested she take part in the class because of her interest in photography. Ford said she has been working behind the cameras while others will be in front of the camera for the PSA. But, Ford said, everyone did voice overs that will be heard in the final product.

"The kids are really working hard, which I'm really happy to see," said teen librarian Eric Carlson.

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