In the nationwide rat race — or, to be taxonomically precise, the rodent, termite, mosquito and cockroach race —  Red Bank Middle School students stand alone.

On Thursday, they collected the grand prize of $3,000 in the first national contest to create a public service announcement for the National Pest Management Association. Their winning entry, “Club Roach,” may be broadcast nationwide, a spokeswoman for the group says.

Two other entries submitted by the middle school also finished in the top five.


Eighth grade students Monica Urena and Joseph Hoff, middle, shadow superintendent Laura Morana, left, and middle school principal Maria Iozzi, far right, in the first Student Leadership Day. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

Aside from the pride in beating out more than 50 submissions, the accomplishment equated to more dough for the school system. As previously reported on redbankgreen, the middle schoolers have been on a video-contest tear in recent years, racking up prizes for their mashups of music and imagery. They’ve also won a boatload of technology for use in classrooms.

“You are the ones making it possible to have more tools, so feel proud about that,” Holcombe Hurd, a middle school teacher who helped shepherd the video-making process, told the students.

The pride was evident on the students’ faces as they watched the winning video with wide eyes and smiles Thursday. Gathering around that oversized check from the association didn’t seem to hurt, either. They were presented with a $3,000 check along with some other pest-related gimcracks: bug rings (that can double-up as scrunchies for the girls, association representative Missy Henriksen said), bug keychains, bug viewfinders and CDs of bug songs.

But what the students will ultimately be able to take away, besides the skills needed to make these kinds of projects, is a glimpse into a world outside the confines of Red Bank or New Jersey, said Chris Ippolito, another teacher who helped guide the making of the video.

“I love the whole idea that we brainstormed the idea an you took the ball and ran with it,” he said. “You get to see your work in a real-world scenario and I’m really happy for that.”