“In 2006, one teen died in a traffic accident every hour,” according to Doreen Spadorcia, Executive VP & CEO, Travelers Claim and Personal Insurance.
This daunting statistic was a motivating factor for the Connecticut DMV and Travelers to team up in 2008, in an effort to create a statewide program designed to educate teen drivers about the importance of safe driving, following the state’s introduction of tougher teen driving laws. The result of this collaboration has been an annual Teen Safe Driving Video Contest, and the 2011-2012 Awards Celebration for the top ten finalists and their families was held this past Thursday evening at the Travelers Claims University (Claim U) in Windsor, CT.
More than a hundred videos from 25 different high schools across the state were submitted this year. The theme was “Safe Driving — How a Community Helps to Make Safe Drivers.” At Hall High School (full disclosure — my son is a Hall student and worked on one of the top 10 videos), the videos were created as a group project in an electives class. What a far cry from the wood shop or sewing classes we used to take “back in the day.”
The teens whose videos made the top ten were treated to a red-carpet evening, as they actually walked down a red carpet, to a dinner followed by speeches by highway safety advocates, state officials and other community leaders. But, for the teens and their families, the screening of their videos and the awards ceremony were the highlights of the evening.
The top ten videos were from:
Norwich Free Academy, Norwich, CT (1st Place)
East Haven High School, East Haven, CT (2nd Place)
Hall High School, West Hartford, CT (3 videos made the top ten, and the school earned 3rd and 4th Place)
Darien High School, Darien, CT (5th Place)
Arts at Capitol Theater, Willimantic, CT
Manchester High School, Manchester, CT
Coginchaug Regional, Durham, CT
Daniel Hand High School, Madison, CT
Hall High School won two additional awards, one for Creativity and Resourcefulness, and one for Most Views on YouTube. In total, the students from Hall High won $6,000 for their school.
“Working together in a group is a very important part of the high school students’ education. What better way of doing this than brainstorming, producing, shooting, and editing a video on safe teen driving. It doesn’t get much better than that. The kids are great!” said Dan DeCoursy, the graphic arts teacher at Hall High, who had three student groups make the top ten. Even more impressively, each video won awards and two made the top five.
A special shout out to Dr. Donald Slater, principal at Hall, for appearing in a superhero costume, tights and all, as "Captain Community" in one of the videos.
Participants from Hall High School were Henry Stein*, Ethan Schaefer, Conor Langan, Allison Bellucci*, Noam Kessing, Josh Chozick, Remy Gaulin, Steven Tang, Samantha Bechard*, Rob Sechtman, and Patrick Keegan. Each of the students from the top five videos received an etched glass award and every student from the top ten videos received a gift bag with an iTunes gift card and assorted swag. (*student directors)
After watching all 10 videos I can’t imagine how the judges chose the winners because they were all so well done. You can see for yourself by going to: www.travelers.com/teendrivingcontest. Currently, Connecticut ranks below the national average in teen crashes.
Sue Schaefer is a student advocate, academic coach, and certified teacher. We encourage you to visit her website: Academic Coaching Associates. You may email Sue at email@example.com.
You can also follow Sue on twitter: @sueschaefer1