Madison Students Create Parking Awareness Video that Goes Viral Online

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) -  Right now, there is a video online put together by students in Madison that attracted the eyes of a star-studded website.

It's the work of a team of high school journalism students who were asked to put together an awareness piece on the use and abuse of handicapped parking spaces.

The video features a conversation between two disabled people.

"Just like with their handicapped placard," said one person to the other.  "they don't mean to be mean-spirited, but they use their placard when it doesn't really belong to them."

That's just a clip from the mini-documentary.

"It's a really sensitive subject," said Daniel Whitt, Broadcast Journalism instructor at James Clemens High School.

His students set up the conversation between the disabled people and turned their message into an awareness piece.

Producer and editor, Caleb Besaw, a junior at JCHS, became an expert on the topic and learned something special about himself in the process.

"I figured out I really like working with people that are like different than I am and helping them out," Besaw said.

The project came about when members of the Madison City Disability and Accessibility Board contacted the school, asking for students to help them get their message out.  It was just the kind of project Whitt says he tries to get his students to pursue.

"One of our personal goals for Jet Press is to promote empathy, to really understand where people are coming from and to think outside the walls of this school," said Whitt.

Besaw seized the opportunity and gave voice to those affected by others who perhaps lack empathy.  Once the video was shared online, Whitt says those voices were heard around the world.

"Within a matter of two days or so, an organization called Everyone Matters, which is actually owned by Paul McCartney and Nicole Kidman and some others immediately re-posted it on Facebook and they have over 50,000 likes.

It was an effort to bring change in the tennessee valley which could bring changes around the country.

It didn't cost anyone anything for the students to produce that video.  Students just used the equipment provided to them by the school.

As for Caleb Besaw, he says his next documentary project will be a piece explaining why the city of Madison is one of the best places to live.

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