Student project warns of distracted driving dangers

Brightly colored banners and lawn signs reminding motorists to say “no” to distracted driving are showing up around town, thanks to a group of Canajoharie High School students.

The signs are part of a class project created to give Michelle Egelston’s Digital Photography students experience working on a real-world problem.

“Last summer, when thinking of real-life, projects-based products my students could create, I contacted Wendy Hudson at The Hearn Insurance Agency to see if they would be willing to sponsor a safety-related project that would benefit not only our school (with many new drivers), but also the community,” Egelston explained.

The answer was “yes,” with The Hearn Agency agreeing to donate $1,000 to a project that would warn of the dangers of distracted driving.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity for the students,” explained Hudson, who said the agency has given scholarships in the past, but wanted to do something different this year.

Each of Egelston’s 11 students was then tasked with creating his or her own design for an 18-by-24-inch lawn sign, and to work together to create large banners to be hung in the school atrium, and at the Thruway entrance by Betty Beavers.

The project combined copywriting, photography and design. The students said it was challenging to come up with strong language and images that would get people’s attention.

“I think they look great,” Hudson said of the signs. A lawn sign has been set up outside the insurance office, and Hudson’s customers will be offered bumper stickers designed by the students.

A phrase developed by Felicity Folts, “Don’t drive inTEXTicated,” was used for the banners, and key chains, bumper stickers and other items were also printed.

“The students really enjoyed seeing their work in such a large scale and are excited to hand out free key chains to their fellow students on Monday when they take the ‘Say No to Distracted Driving’ pledge,” Egelston said.

high school students posing in front of don't text and drive poster