A Melbourne, Fla., high school student has won the grand prize in the 10th annual Drive2Life PSA Contest, sponsored by The National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF), a non-profit group that promotes safe driving behavior.
Madison Henry, 16, a junior at Melbourne Central Catholic H.S. in Melbourne, FL, sent a script for a public service message about the importance of all passengers wearing seat belts.
She won the top prize of $1,000 out of more than 1,190 entries from throughout the U.S.
As part of her prize, Henry was to be flown to New York to work with an Emmy Award-winning production team to shoot and edit her script into a 30-second PSA that will air on more than 160 TV stations nationwide.
Instead, due to coronavirus constraints, she worked online with the director, crew and actors, who were spread out over six locations in Florida, New York, Connecticut and Texas.
She will present the final version of her 30-second spot Tuesday to executives at The National Road Safety Foundation and its media partner Scholastic, the global children’s publishing company.
Henry’s winning idea shows a little girl asking questions about seat belts, including “When were seat belts first used in cars?” and “How many deaths are caused by not wearing seat belts?” We hear her grandmother answering all the questions until the little girl’s last question, “If my parents had been wearing their seat belts, would they have lived?”
Henry said she was hoping her message would create an impact on the viewer. “I wanted something that, although very short, could reach the emotions of the audience,” she said.
“The reason we chose Madison’s idea from so many great ideas we received from throughout the country,” said Michelle Anderson of The National Road Safety Foundation, “is that it gave some important and sobering statistics that ended by showing how not using a car’s most effective lifesaving tool can have a devastating impact on any of us, including a young girl whose parents are no longer there for her because of a bad choice. It’s an impactful and important message for everyone who drives or rides in a car.”
In addition to being broadcast in June on the nationally-syndicated TV show “Teen Kids News,” Henry’s PSA and story will be featured in select fall issues of Scholastic Classroom Magazines.
Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, participated in the Drive2Life contest by distributing it nationwide to grades 6 –12.
Four runners-up were also selected in the Drive2Life competition, each winning a $500 prize.
Runners-up in the Grades 6–8 category are Joseph Parrino, 13, of Mineola High School, Mineola, NY and Lindsey Cobble, 14,of Camp Ernst Middle School in Burlington, KY.
Runners-up in grades 9–12 are Grace Densham, 17, of Thornapple Kellogg High School in Middleville, MI and D’andre Tillman, 17, of Straudsburg High School in Straudsburg, PA.