DPHS Student Activists Mobilize Winning Campaign with Allstate

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Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in America today, resulting in nearly 5,000 deaths and 300,000 injuries each year. To combat this shocking statistic, Deer Park High School students created a multifaceted campaign to get their peers to drive smarter. In addition to potentially saving lives, the teens won $5,000 for their school through The Allstate Foundation’s “Keep the Drive National Activism Contest.”

The award-winning campaign used creative peer-to-peer approaches to promote smart driving. A key event of the students’ campaign was the school’s first-ever Keep the Drive ‘Rap Off’ during which groups of students and teachers performed raps and poems they created about distracted driving. More than 350 students, parents and community members attended the event, including local fire and EMS officials. Continuing to make an impact around the district, students staged a “Grim Reaper Day” to create awareness that an average of 14 teens die each day in crashes. Additionally, they created a smart-driving showcase in the school’s lobby and engaged teens and parents in writing letters to one another about how it would feel if the teen died in a crash. 

“Our school community has recently suffered the loss of a wonderful teacher from a car crash, which makes this issue very relevant for us,” said Deer Park Principal James Cummings. “Our students were inspired by the unique ‘Keep the Drive’ summit to spread the smart driving message and prevent the senseless loss of life in our community. We’re thrilled about this recognition, and the prize will enable us to continue to reach more teens. We thank The Allstate Foundation for their generous donation, and helping us to get the message out.”

Students learned about Keep the Drive, a national teen-led smart driving movement, during a Long Island teen driving summit and through their health class curriculum. At the summit event student leaders from Deer Park pledged to be responsible drivers and smart driving advocates. Students were provided with tools to tackle the teen driving issue through peer-to-peer grassroots initiatives. In class, students discussed ways to initiate smart driving conversations and created action plans for how they will communicate responsible driving decisions to their peers. 

Pictured, Allstate Senior Corporate Relations Manager, NY Region, Krista Conte (top row, far right) and Wheatley Heights Allstate Agency Owner Darin Reed (second to left) presented (top row, L-R) Deer Park High School Principal James Cummings, Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth Marino, Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services Frank Caliguiri, Deputy Superintendent Eva Demyen and (bottom left) teacher Sheryl Deacon with the check to promote continued safety and health initiatives.