A High School Student Team’s Award Winning PSA on Opioid Use: “The Cork Board”

The creative collaboration demonstrated by a group of high school students in Madison, Conn. is so powerful … by design.

High school teacher Luke Arsenault created an opportunity in his Intro to Video course for students to tackle conveying metaphorical ideas, while maintaining video quality, with the hope that they incorporate them into the Public Service Announcement.

“I was so proud of one of my groups, they were determined to find an effective metaphor for the public service announcement, utilizing the idea of a cork-board to convey the dangers of opiate abuse,” said Luke. “They took every skill from the trimester and made a professional quality PSA that won a national contest, earning them $10,000.

“It was the pinnacle of what I could expect from a group of kids, and if I retired tomorrow I would know I did something right.”

This was again part of a broader curricular development process in Madison Public Schools where they have identified Cross-Disciplinary Capacities to be developed K-12. As students engaged with the development of a PSA, Luke want his students to focus on:

Creative Thinking

  • Design: Students will be able to engage in an appropriate process to refine their product.


  • Collective Intelligence: Students will be able to work respectfully and responsibly with others, exchanging and evaluating ideas to achieve a common objective.
  • Product Creation: Students will be able to effectively use a medium to communicate important information (findings, ideas, feelings, issues, etc.) for a given purpose.


  • Reflection: Students will be able to analyze their performance to evaluate progress toward learning goals in order to determine next step(s).
  • Perseverance: Students will be able to identify problem(s) and use appropriate strategies to continue toward a desired goal.

Global Thinking

  • Citizenship: Students will be able to identify and contribute to critical issues in society in an ethical and responsible manner.

The rubric measured their capacity to demonstrate proficiency with camera technique as well as convey a meaningful story.

PSA Rubric.pdf copy
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