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Arlington County students win award for film combating cyberbullying

The eighth graders' cyberbullying prevention video is well known to students at Gunston, but now the short film has an even larger audience. (ABC7)

Sophie Salazar and Meaghan Leahy of Gunston Middle School in Arlington are using filmmaking to tackle a painful problem.

"It's called 'Cyberbullying Ends When Good Digital Citizenship Begins,'" Leahy told ABC 7 News.

Salazar added, "If this happens to you, you don't need to get down about it, just follow these tips that we did."

The eighth graders' cyberbullying prevention video is well known to students at Gunston, but now the short film has an even larger audience.

Salazar beamed, "I'm just very proud of our video, how it turned out."

The one-minute-and-49-second creation impressed at the AT&T Film Awards with judges giving it second-place honors in the Best Short Film - Youth category.

AT&T Spokesperson Pat Brogan explained, "We thought it was very positive and unique because it went from a peer to peer perspective. It wasn't an adult telling a child, 'Here's what you should do in this situation.'"

Teacher Harry Costner shared, "They are writing the scripts, they are acting in it, they are producing in it, they are creating the music behind it, they are doing everything from A to Z."

The duo's hard work paid off with a prize package that included $2,000 in camera equipment. Professional filmmakers will also come to Gunston to host a one-day filmmaking workshop.

Leahy projected, "I hope to continue filmmaking when I'm in high school and maybe become a filmmaker when I'm in college."

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