Streetsboro student wins statewide MLK video contest

by mike lesko | Reporter Published:

Streetsboro -- KeShun Jones, an eighth-grader at Streetsboro Middle School, "wanted to do something different" for his video that eventually won the Ohio Civil Rights Commission Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. contest in the multi-media category.

The video shows numerous classmates individually holding cards with written words to portray thoughts about bullying.

"We were sitting in class, and we talked about using cards about how people are getting treated," he said, adding that teacher Terri Betts "thought it was a good idea, so we went with it."

The contest sought entries from students in grades 6-12 statewide in writing, art and multi-media. About 1,000 entries total were submitted in all three categories, and KeShun's was the only multi-media submission picked.

Some of the messages on the cards that were read by his classmates read: "I am teased for being short;" "I don't know what to do to make the bullying stop;" "I am a victim;" "I have no friends;" "I am not weird. I'm one of a kind;" "Even a few mean words really hurt me;" "I feel like I have no one to talk to;" and "stand up for others."

Betts, who teaches study skills to seventh- and eighth-graders, asked her students if they were interested in entering the contest and KeShun volunteered.

"We used Rachel's Challenge [as a theme]," Betts said. "I asked KeShun what he wanted his topic to be, and that came to mind."

Rachel's Challenge is named after Rachel Scott, a student killed in the Columbine High School shootings. Her goal, outlined in an essay shortly before her death, was for students to be more kind to each other.

"The other students wanted to help," Betts said. "There were students who really opened up and wrote their feelings that helped him with his video. It was a collaboration, but it is his video, absolutely. I don't think he could have made it without being part of a school and having the experiences he had."

KeShun's mother, Nicole McCorvey, said she was "really moved by some of the cards about bullying."

"A lot of times, students don't know how to say what they feel, but they can express how they feel through the cards," she said. "I hope he made a difference."

KeShun said he thinks it will.

"I think it leaves an impact on a lot of people," he said. "Mrs. Betts was a big help in making the video, and I really appreciate it."

Betts said Keshun was "very dedicated" to producing a quality video.

The video, which was published on YouTube Feb. 15, had been viewed more than 700 times through Feb. 21.

"I was shocked," KeShun said. "I didn't know that many people would watch it."

A link to the video can be found at: http://youtu.be/ac08m58jatw.

Betts said eighth-grader Zhané Bacon also submitted a contest essay about improving schools through Rachel's Challenge.

KeShun, who lives in Oakwood, previously attended Bedford City Schools. He started going to Streetsboro Middle School two years ago through open enrollment, which allows a student to attend school tuition free in a district other than the district where his or her parents reside.

"I believe Streetsboro schools have a little more to offer than Bedford," his mother said.

KeShun, who will turn 14 on March 2, has two older sisters -- Taylor Gaines, a senior at Streetsboro High School, and Breanna Gaines, a student at Kent State University. His father is BeShun Jones.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

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