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PDFNJ Announces 22 Finalists in the New Jersey Shout Down Drugs Music Competition

April 29, 2024

Contacts: Lisa Batitto, news@drugfreenj.org

Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Announces 22 Finalists in the New Jersey Shout Down Drugs Music Competition

**To arrange interviews or for photos, please contact Lisa Batitto at news@drugfreenj.org**

MILLBURN, NJ—Twenty-two high school students from eight New Jersey counties have been named finalists in the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) 's 20th Your Song! Your Voice! Shout Down Drugs competition. The contestants crafted original musical pieces that address substance use prevention and promote a healthy lifestyle.

The competition is supported by the New Jersey Broadcaster Association (NJBA) and 95.9 WRAT; The finalists’ songs will be broadcast on 95.9 during a virtual concert on Wednesday, May 8, featuring the Creative Services Director of WRAT, Jimmy Steal. The competition winners will be selected by an esteemed panel of judges and announced live at the concert's conclusion.

"Our finalists have not only demonstrated exceptional dedication and creativity in their musical projects, but they have also shared their personal insights and stories on substance use prevention,” said Angelo Valente, Executive Director of PDFNJ. “This competition not only showcases their talents but also amplifies their prevention messages to a broader audience. We are immensely proud of their achievements and look forward to discovering this year's top talents."

The finalists are:

  • Bergen County
    • Luke Mande, "Depths of the Ocean," Grade 9, Saddle River Day School, Saddle River
    • McKenna Biggins, "Worth It," Grade 9, Northern Valley Regional High School at Demarest, Demarest
  • Hudson County
    • Kaylah Gilmore, "Diane," Grade 11, Hoboken Charter School, Hoboken
    • Emily Lazo, "Pressure," Grade 9, Westbridge Academy, Bloomfield
    • Mikayla Monclova, "Misery's Company," Grade 12, Hoboken Charter School, Hoboken
  • Mercer County
    • Varsha Gireesh, "Fever Dreams," Grade 10, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North, Plainsboro
    • Mein (Lukas Ferguson, Grade 12; Emma MacDuff,, Grade 11; Zaire Mims, Grade 11;  and Sia Willie, Grade 11), "Mary Jane," Ewing High School, Ewing
  • Monmouth County
    • The Outsidas (Alex Delgado, Grade 10; and Enzo Pimenta, Grade 10), "It's Too Bad," Grunin Performing Arts Academy, Toms River
  • Ocean County
    • Jordan Ford, "Fading," Grade 12, Barnegat High School
    • Hisham Khan, "Anti-Drug," Grade 12, Lakewood High School, Lakewood
    • Alison Martinez, "Drug's Downfall," Grade 12, Lakewood High School, Lakewood
    • Alexis Ruiz, "Say No 2 Drugs," Grade 12, Lakewood High School, Lakewood
  • Sussex County
    • Imperfectly Perfect (Zoe Caraballo, Grade 10, and Jalexa Garcia, Grade 10), "Dimly Lit (Let Some Light In)," Sussex County Technical School, Sparta
  • Union County
    • Joey Konopka, "Party Fever," Grade 12, Hillside High School, Hillside
  • Warren County
    • Calico (Ethan Freedley, Grade 12; and Abby Abello, Grade 11), "Lullaby of Lost Dreams," Hackettstown High School, Hackettstown

The first, second, and third-place winning songs will be awarded prizes. The top performer will secure a $5,000 music contract, while the second and third-place recipients will be awarded music contracts valued at $3,000 and $2,000, respectively, with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

The public will be able to vote for their favorite Shout Down Drugs finalists from now until May 6. The vote totals from this period will be combined with judges’ scores for each performance at the Prevention Concert. To vote, visit shoutdowndrugs.com/contestants


Best known for its statewide substance use prevention advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication. To date, more than $200 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership’s New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey’s history. Since its inception, the Partnership has garnered 226 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.

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