The efforts of London High Schools ag-business students to promote safe driving among their peers has landed them a top-10 spot in a contest spanning the United States and Canada, $9,500 in grants, and trips to Minneapolis and Washington D.C.
Its all part of Project Ignition, a competition sponsored by State Farm and coordinated by the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC). Student groups submitted plans for promoting driver safety at their schools. The best plans received funding.
Guided by teacher and FFA advisor Dana Snyder, the students won their first Project Ignition grant in February. It was worth $2,000. They implemented their campaign, then in May submitted a report on the results. Their results earned them one of 10 $7,500 Tier II grants.
As part of the award, Hope Miller, Liz Alder and Maleia McKnight—president, vice president and secretary of Londons FFA chapter—will participate in the National Youth Leadership Conference set for April 11-14 in Minneapolis. The conference celebrates service learning projects, which are programs that combine community service with academics.
As a bonus, State Farm and NYLC just announced they will send one student and one advisor from each of the top 10 groups on an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. Jan. 8-10. Participants will meet with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Raymond H. LaHood and other members of the department.
“The D.C. trip isnt something they normally do as part of the grant program. Were very excited to be a part of it. This is all a brand new thing for us, said Snyder, who said the group has not yet decided who will represent them in D.C.
The theme of Londons award-winning campaign isDont Let Your Reaction B UR Distraction. It focuses on texting and cell phone use, seatbelt safety, speeding, and avoiding bad choices while driving, such as drinking and drug-use.
With the first grant, the group bought a Wii gaming system. During lunch periods, they invite other students to play Mario Kart, a racing video game, while texting on their phones or wearingbeer goggles, a device from the State Highway Patrol that simulates how a person sees when drunk.
“People love it. Its really effective, said McKnight.
For homecoming weekend, the group partnered with the Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to display a Corvette confiscated by authorities after the owner was arrested multiple times for driving while under the influence.
“We also gave out bracelets that say ‘Dnt Txt N DrV at this years football game against West Jefferson, Miller said.
With help from the EMA and the Madison County Sheriffs Office, the students plan to monitor student drivers speed in the school parking lot. Theyll also secure aseatbelt convincer, a hands-on simulator that gives users an idea of what happens to the body in a 5 mph car crash.
The group will continue to implement safe-driving events and programs through the end of this school year. Theyll also continue to conduct surveys and collect data to see how the awareness campaign effects students driving habits and perceptions.
Freshmen Isaiah Napper and Shawn Drafton shovel forks full of lettuce into their mouths in a salad-eating contest put on by London High Schools food science class. Drafton beat out five other contestants and won a $15 gift card to Subway.
Small Grains Grant, too
With a $500 grant from the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Council, students in Dana Snyders food science class at London High School are spreading the word about healthy eating.
They selected a handful of students to compete in a salad-eating contest on Dec. 9 during both lunch periods. The salads featured whole-grain croutons. The winners received Subway gift cards.
The group also gave apples and Sun Chips to students and are including healthy, fruit-related recipes in their Christmas fruit sale boxes.
“We surveyed students last week about their eating habits. Well do another survey after were done (with our events), said Maleia McKnight, secretary of Londons FFA chapter.
London was one of 10 schools in Ohio to receive an Ohio Small Grains Marketing Council grant. The students will present their findings at the Ohio FFA Convention and vie for an additional $2,000 in grant funding.
London High Schools FFA will sponsor a Donkeyball Tournament at 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at the London Community Center gym in the old London Middle School on Walnut Street. Players will ride real donkeys.
Presale tickets are $6. Tickets at the gate are $8. Proceeds will be split between the Josh McDaniels Scholarship Fund and Nationwide Childrens Hospital.
Three games are in the works. Teachers will play students in one game. Organizers hope to recruit two community groups to play another game. The winners of these games will then play each other for the championship title.
For more information, contact FFA advisor Dana Snyder at (740) 852-5705.