Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

January 18, 2009

COMPETITION: Promoting character

Wilson senior Shaun Paduano creates video for national contest

BY JOE OLENICK

joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com

WILSON — Shaun Paduano has an idea of how character counts.

Paduano, a senior at Wilson High School, is a finalist in a national video contest for Character Counts. In the contest, students had to create a video centered around one of the “six pillars of character,” which according to Character Counts, include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Paduano said he wasn’t very interested in the contest at first.

“Until I had an idea,” he said.

Paduano’s idea was to create a video based on trustworthiness. In the two-minute video, the story follows a group of kids who are giving away keys carelessly to anyone. Some of the people who receive the keys go and unlock different things they shouldn’t be opening, such as doors and chests. One person doesn’t, and in fact, keeps the keys to herself.

“It’s symbolism,” Paduano said. “The keys are secrets and people are just giving them away. But one person keeps them safe, and they’re trustworthy.”

Paduano didn’t just come up with the key idea for the video, he wrote the script, directed, filmed and edited the whole thing. He also wrote the music, which plays the entire two minutes the video runs. Paduano is also the only student from New York state in the finals.

Paduano’s media arts teacher, Lynn Bewley, said the contest was replacing a media literacy event at Niagara University as the class’ main focus. The event was canceled this year, but she received information about the Character Counts organization’s video contest. The contest had a $500 grand prize and it was a national competition, which Bewley liked.

“It was a good opportunity,” Bewley said. “The kids were totally on board.”

Character Counts received nearly 300 videos from all over the country, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Portugal. There are separate competitions for elementary school students and secondary school students. About 10 percent of the videos were chosen to be finalists. Now the public will be able to weigh in. The videos are graded from A (the best) to C and the input will have a big impact on the winners. Character Counts will then choose the top three videos. The major factors the organization bases its decision on is how clear and powerful the message of the video is, creativity and originality in promoting one of the character pillars and overall quality of the video.

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