The media center of Patuxent Valley Middle School in Jessup percolated with excitement Thursday as about 100 students waited to participate in the taping of a public service announcement for Gov. William Donald Schaefer's "Maryland You Are Beautiful" campaign.
The announcement, which will be shown on Baltimore's Channel 11 throughout the month of February, is a promotion for the Maryland You Are Beautiful Student Literacy Writing Competition. This year the theme of the competition is "Say no to drugs."
"I can't wait," Jill Feldstein, a sixth-grade student from Columbia, said before the taping.
Principal David Oaks silenced the uproar and instructed students to gather around a banner decorated with the Maryland state flag and the slogan "Maryland You Are Beautiful."
The students then practiced their lines, "Maryland you are beautiful" and "Say no to drugs," as Jay Schlossberg-Cohen, the director of the Maryland Film Commission, instructed them to emphasize the word "No."
The students welcomed Yogi Bear and Scooby Doo with shouts of "Hi Yogi! Hi Scooby!" as the two Kings Dominion characters interrupted the rehearsals to assume positions on each side of the banner.
Shouts of "Yes!" and "Cool!" answered the producer's announcement thatthey would begin the actual taping.
Of the students chosen to participate in the promotion, 25 were selected from each of the three middle school grades, and 24 additional students were members of the leadership group S.H.O.U.T. -- Students Helping Others and Understanding Themselves.
"I felt kind of special," Oslyn Cummings, a seventh-grade student from Columbia, said during the taping. "But I wasn't nervous."
Shoshannah Beck, a sixth-grade student from Columbia, agreed that the television announcement made students feel important. "It felt good because I had never been on TV before. It was my big chance, and it was for the governor."
"I think the message is good because the world is already cluttered with drugs in the streets and it's not helping us at all," said eighth-grader Earl Joyce, of Columbia.