February 25, 2013
By Pat Christensen
Four students at Lake Zurich High School produced a video on dating violence that has been named the best in a state competition.
Kasia Konsor and three of her friends, Kati Stavropoulos, Amanda Buckstaff and Ian Hesch, teamed up to create the video for the contest sponsored by the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Hesch is a senior, and the others are sophomores.
The 30-second video is set around the theme of "rewind," asking the viewer to take on the attitude of a young victim of dating violence to see whether a situation could be rewound, and would she see the signs of anger, control, violence and disrespect ? Or would she think only of the good times? At the end, it advises that love is safety, care, understanding, respect, equality and communication, urging the viewer to say no to violence.
The video beat 36 other applicants, including the second and third place winners from Moline High School and Pathways in Paris, Ill.
Konsor said she came up with the original idea.
"My hobby is doing video on computer," she said. "We all worked on ideas for it."
Buckstaff and Hesch starred as the ill-fated couple, and Stavropoulos helped with scenes and "keeping everyone on track," Konsor said. The students did the project entirely on their own, without any class credit.
Hesch, who played the abusive boyfriend, admitted that he had a hard time with the role. "He's the bad guy, and it was difficult to get into it. But I still really like the movie," he said
All three girls laughed when asked if Hesch had anything in common with the character he played.
Buckstaff was a bit intimidated by her role as the victim. "It was really intense," she said. "When I started, I was uncomfortable. It's not something [a violent dating situation] I'd want to be in the middle of." But she added that she was proud "to do something to help change it."
Konsor said she learned that dating violence is not just physical. "It's emotional too." Hesch added, "People think it doesn't happen here, that we don't have it in this community. But it is here, in this community."
As winners, the students received an iPad and Lake Zurich High School received a $1,000 check. At the awards ceremony, Pat Davenport of A Safe Place, Lake County, reminded students and parents that "It's a basic human right not to be hurt at all."
The top three videos in the competition can be viewed at ilcadv.org.