Thomas Stone High School received a grant for their teen driver safety task force. Accepting the check are, pictured from left, Ronald Cunningham, deputy superintendent; Officer Raymond Anderson; Stone Vice Principal Carl Pascarella; Stone teacher and SGA advisor Gary Winsett; Gina McElhaney of Strachan Insurance Agency; Sheriff Rex Coffey; and Stone seniors Ariel Queen and Emmanuel Bakare. (Submitted photo)
LA PLATA, Md. (February 8, 2011) Students at Thomas Stone High School received a $2,000 grant on Monday, Jan. 24, for their efforts in promoting safe driving practices among their peers. Stone, as well as Charles Countys other five public high schools, has a student task force dedicated to promoting safe driving among teenagers and to improve safety on the roads through an awareness campaign.
The student-led task force, named the Lookin Out for Safe Drivers Task Force, applied for the grant through Strachan Insurance Agency located in Fort Washington. In their application, students had to specify the goals of the task force, as well as provide examples of events and activities coordinated for their campaign. Gary Winsett, student government advisor at Stone and county advisor to the Charles County Association of Student Councils (CCASC), submitted the application on behalf of the force, which is comprised of about 15 student members.
We as a group look to have a positive message provided by students, for students to improve teen driving by focusing on some of the problem areas of teen driving. These areas include seatbelt use, speeding or reckless behavior, limiting the number of passengers in cars, cell phone use and texting and distracted driving, Winsett said.
Charles County Public Schools partnered with the Charles County Sheriffs Office three years ago to launch the We Care safe driving campaign. Each high school launched a teen driving safety task force and has coordinated school events and hands-on exercises to promote the campaign.
The task force at Stone has implemented several activities to promote their cause, such as creating a radio and video public service announcement, creating a banner for students to sign as a pledge to drive safely, and Red Shirt Awareness Day. During Red Shirt Awareness Day, students are randomly selected to wear a red shirt throughout the school day to signify a teenage death as a result of an automobile accident. These students were unable to speak for the duration of the day to signify the loss of life. This event was also implemented at the countys other five high schools.
This is the second year that Stone has received a grant from Strachan Insurance Agency to help fund the teen driving safety campaign. Earlier this school year, Strachan Insurance Agency funded the Lookin Out Safety Bug driving event at North Point and La Plata high schools. The Safety Bug is a Volkswagen Beetle that has been customized to demonstrate the loss of control a person would experience if they drove a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The event is scheduled to take place at Stone later this school year during prom season.
Source: Charles County Public School System