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It just keeps getting better. Four years ago, student teams in Luke Arsenault's career and technology course at Daniel Hand High School entered the state Department of Motor Vehicles' teen safe driving video contest. One of their entries ranked in the top 10. So did an entry the following year. Then last year the students' entries scored a second place and another in the top 10.
This year the results were even more impressive-a Daniel Hand video took first place, and a second Hand entry scored in the top 10. How impressive? Well, there were 137 student-team submissions that involved a total of 549 students statewide, representing a contest-record 46 high schools.
The theme of this year's 25-second video was "Teen Drivers: Put Your Brakes on Distractions." The contest theme was developed by a group of student advisors representing several Connecticut high schools. The advisors said this theme delivers a simple message and challenges other teens to craft a message that can influence others to drive more safely.
Highway safety advocates and state and other officials honored teens from across Connecticut earier this month for their work to promote safe driving as part of this year's DMV video contest.
"We launched this campaign as a way to reach our youngest and most inexperienced drivers early-on to give then the information they need to make the right decisions when they get behind the wheel," said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. "I'm proud to say this year we saw a higher level of participation than ever before."
Attorney General George Jepson said, "I congratulate the participants, who truly did an excellent job in trying to persuade their fellow students to stay safe behind the wheel. These videos sent a very powerful and persuasive message to all drivers-especially young drivers, their friends and peers-about the dangers of distracted driving."
DMV Commissioner Melody Currie said, "This year's theme produces a direct call to action and the clear message that's crucial in peer-to-peer communication."
Daniel Hand High School will receive $5,000 for its first place win. Students on the first place team were awarded iPads from AT&T. All 10 finalist teams received certificates from Malloy and Curry as well as gift baskets from Travelers. Travelers was co-sponsor of the event.
Members of the first place team were: student director Scott Sweitzer, Tommy Durkin, Stefan Pelletier, Seamus Reilly, Zach Serio, Ben Swimmer, and Malcolm Watts. Members of the other Daniel Hand top 10 finalist team were: student director Reilly Thornbury, Emerson Butler, Carter Chapman, Joel Griffin, Nicole Kronauer, Maggie Pollard, and Tanner Rowell.
Screening panels, including representatives from law enforcement, media, studnets, and parents, narrowed the 137 submissions to the 10 finalists. Next a panel of judges representing highway safety advocates, including Malloy, Jepsen, and Travelers Executive Vice-president and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Bessette, selected the ranking winners.
The DMV, Travelers, and other safety advocates plan to use the videos submitted in a variety of outreach programs, and to offer them to schools, businesses, government agencies, advocacy groups and other partners in teen safe driving.
See these award-winning videos on You Tube:
• Daniel Hand High School, first place winner: http://youtu.be/xl8SFMa9GUc
• Daniel Hand High School top 10 finalist: http://youtu.be/9ndlWJQmC8.