JEFFERSON CITY -- Two Sikeston students were awarded the grand prize for the public service announcements they created to encourage their peers to buckle up.
High School students from around the state were in Jefferson City Dec. 13 to receive recognition for the public service announcements. Fifteen entries received recognition in the Restrain Yourself contest in one of the following categories: grand prize, first place, second place, honorable mention and special recognition.
Sikeston Career and Technology Center students Rachel Beydler and Michael Sansagraw were the grand prize recipients. The school received a trophy and check for $1,000 and the students received a certificate of recognition and $2,000.
Restrain Yourself challenged high school students across the state to use their creativity to develop an original 30-second public service announcement that convinces their peers to buckle up every time they are in a vehicle.
"This is an exciting program," says Leanna Depue, director of highway safety for the Missouri Department of Transportation. "The young men and women involved in this campaign are leaders in their communities. They can make a difference among their peers and save lives."
The contest was prompted by the alarming results of a recent teen safety belt survey, which found safety belt use among Missouri teens is an alarming 56 percent. This usage rate is dramatically lower than Missouri's overall safety belt usage rate of 77 percent.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle deaths are the leading cause of death for people 15 to 20 years of age.
A total of 399 students participated in the contest submitting 139 PSAs with the support of 44 teachers, coordinators and principals around the state. First place winners were Morgan County High School. The school received a trophy and check for $250 and students received a certificate of recognition and $1,000.
Second place went to students at Lee's Summit West High School. The school received a trophy and check for $250 and students received a certificate of recognition and $500.
Honorable mention was awarded to students at Lee's Summit West High School and Timberland High School. The school received a trophy and each student received a certificate of recognition.
Area students receiving special recognition included Sikeston High School student Nick Nielsen; Oran High School students, Monica Scherer, Wendy Eftink, Erica Michelsen, Robert Lange, Cody Kirnberger and Caleb Seyer; and Scott City High School students Michael Irey, Jola Skubis, Jonnie Blankenship, Louie Benson and Garrett Mills.
The schools received a trophy and each student received a certificate of recognition.
Cash prizes were made available through a grant with State Farm Insurance.
Sponsors for the contest include the Missouri Department of Transportation, Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, Missouri State Medical Association, Missouri Safety Council, and State Farm Insurance.
"We are proud to be a sponsor of the Restrain Yourself contest," said Curt Dreier, vice president of agency for State Farm Insurance Companies. "State Farm has a long tradition of proactively educating youthful drivers on the importance of wearing seat belts."
To view the three top entries, please visit MoDOT's Web site at www.modot.org.