WETHERSFIELD, CT - The Department of Motor Vehicles announced on Wednesday that six high school students have been selected as teen advisors to help create a theme for and promote the agency's annual teen safe driving video contest for 2013-14.
The advisors, representing both public and private high schools, will have also set goals to increase participation in the sixth annual statewide competition. Open to high school students, the contest requires them to create a 25-second public service video on teen safe driving. Winners' high schools receive cash prizes.
"We are glad to see strong interest of students in the contest and also from these six teens who will help DMV continue to make this contest a valuable learning lesson for students across the state," said DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey. The contest theme will be announced in September.
DMV last year created a special advisors program for teens to run major parts of the contest that draws hundreds of participants annually. A panel of safety advocates ranks the top five videos among those submitted. Travelers, the contest's corporate prize sponsor for the last four years, awards the prizes to winning students' high schools.
Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, along with the Connecticut Emergency Nurses Association, work with DMV guiding the teen advisors in their efforts to create a theme anchored in both safety and public health. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens.
The 2013-14 teen advisors are:
* Katherine Cimini of Rocky Hill, a senior at Mercy High School. "I want to be a teen advisor for this contest because I want to help teens realize how important safe driving is while also promoting fun and creative ways to help teens and their families learn all about teen safe driving."
* Stephanie Lewis of Woodbury, a junior at Nonnewaug High School. "I want to be a teen advisor for the contest because I think that encouraging teens to drive safely is very important. Last year, I submitted a video for the contest and it was a really good experience being able to learn a lot more about safe driving. I hope that the contest is able to inspire a great deal of teens to drive safer!"
* Ama Appiah of Middletown, a junior at Mercy High School. "I opted to be an advisor for the teen driving safety campaign because I have an interest in serving my community and making it a safe place to live. One way to achieve this is to minimize accidents and injuries that are attributed to teen recklessness by promoting safety."
* Hannah McCollam of New Fairfield, a junior at Nonnewaug High School. "I want to be a teen advisor for this contest because I want to help lead my generation away from the many hazards of driving, and encourage many people my age-and older-to practice safe, lawful driving habits that can help keep both them and others free from harm while on the roads."
* Nick Bisio of Wethersfield, a senior at Xavior High School. "I want to be part of the teen safe driving contest because I want to be part of something bigger that will make a difference in the world."
* Allie Caselli of Woodbury, a junior at Nonnewaug High School. "I want to be a teen advisor for the safe driving contest because it is important to me to help educate fellow teens on the importance of safe driving in our world today."
Working with the DMV is David S. Shapiro, MD, a trauma surgeon at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. He emphasized the importance of teens' creating effective video public service announcements.
"At Saint Francis, we see motor vehicle trauma injuries every day -- many of them involving teens. If just one video can prevent just one of those traumas, and can make teens more aware of the importance of safe driving, then the support of the many teams behind this initiative will be rewarded immeasurably," he said.
Helen Kenney, RN, CT Emergency Nurses Association State Council President, said that the CENA is proud to be a partner for the first time in also advising teens on this project.
"Having this kind of partnership is key in collaborative efforts between public and private organizations to improve motor vehicle safety and prevent crashes, injuries and deaths," she said.