PT teen wins scholarship for texting and driving PSAs

Published Jul 3, 2013 at 6:18 am (Updated Jul 1, 2013 at 9:10 am)

Peters Township High School senior Lindsay Spinabelli has been selected as a winner of this year’s Edgar Snyder & Associates Words to be Heard scholarship contest. Her winning entry included two PSAs discouraging peers from texting and driving.

Spinabelli said both PSAs share the same message: “Distracted driving affects not only the texting offender, but also other passengers, drivers, as well as family and friends.”

The Edgar Snyder & Associates Words to be Heard Scholarship Contest challenges students across Western Pennsylvania to create programs discouraging their peers from underage drinking, drunk driving or texting while driving. Students had the option of submitting entries in the form of videos, PowerPoint presentations, websites, essays or the creative format of their choice.

Attorney Edgar Snyder personally presented Spinabelli with the $2,500 scholarship at an awards dinner. Prior to the dinner, Spinabelli and the other scholarship recipients participated in a live Google Plus Hangout with Attorney Snyder to talk about the inspiration behind their projects and future plans for college.

“The projects are extremely powerful,” said Snyder. “We see the realities of what happens when people get in accidents, but I believe these students’ presentations can really affect change.”

As an officer in her school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) program, Spinabelli used what she learned there to create the PSAs. “Last year, SADD had a big mock crash that I was involved with. One of our focuses was drunk driving, but we also decided we should focus on texting and driving. We talked about how every decision you make affects others, not just yourself,” said Spinabelli. “That’s why my videos focused on the impact to others, not only the person texting.”

The PSAs can be viewed on YouTube.

Spinabelli plans to attend Penn State in the fall to study PR or marketing. Her video teacher, Mrs. Frick, has been a big encouragement along the way. “I have been with [Mrs. Frick] for three years – she is awesome. She really pushes me and helps me find scholarship opportunities in public relations. She is the one who taught me everything about making a PSA, and has been coaching me ever since.”

More than 300 entries were submitted and evaluated by a panel of judges who advocate teen safety in their communities.

In addition to Spinabelli, six other winners were recognized for their submissions at the dinner ceremony. The grand-prize winner took home a $5,000 scholarship. There were two additional scholarships for $2,500 and three $1,000 scholarships.

Since the scholarship contest began in 2007, Edgar Snyder & Associates has awarded 63 scholarships totaling $86,000. To view the winning entries and to learn more about the Edgar Snyder & Associates “Words to be Heard” Scholarship Contest, visit www.edgarsnyder.com/scholarship2013.

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