Greg Williams Butler County Times-Gazette
The Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office recently announced the winners of its “SAFE Speaks” competition.
SAFE, an acronym for Seatbelts Are For Everyone, is a free, student-led program for middle and high school students focusing on peer-to-peer promotion of traffic safety.
The “SAFE Speaks” competition invited high school seniors across Kansas to choose a traffic safety topic and create a virtual 5-10 minute presentation to share with their communities. Participants selected topics such as distracted driving, seat belt use, drunk driving, and inexperienced drivers. The presentations were judged by a panel of safety professionals.
“We were impressed with the quality of the presentations given,” said SAFE Program Specialist Johnny Lang. “The students did a lot of research and gave facts along with telling personal stories of crashes that have already affected their lives.”
Some of the students have already shared their traffic safety presentations with classmates, hoping to make a positive impact with their calls for safer driving.
The Kansas Sheriffs Association, along with support from the AT&T “It Can Wait” program, provided $10,000 in scholarships for the “SAFE Speaks” competition. The first through fourth place winners will receive a $1,250 scholarship. Five other presenters will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
The top winners are: – First Place: Beatrice Turley, Shawnee Mission West High School
Second Place: Elisabeth Johnson, Lansing High School
Third Place: Mahtee O’Shea, St Marys High School
Fourth Place: Josie Ware, West Elk High School
The $1,000 scholarship winners are: Lyndsey Buechman, Abilene High School; Alexis Hatvick, Flinthills High School; Olivia Summers, Holton High School; Isabella Matteucci, Sacred Heart High School; and Alyssa Mikkelson, also of Sacred Heart High School.
Each winner will be recognized at their school and the top speakers will be invited to present at the Kansas Teen Transportation Safety Conference held April 19-20 in Topeka.
Through education, rewards, and enforcement, SAFE highlights the importance of wearing a seatbelt, driving alert, and following traffic laws with the goal of decreasing the number of teen injuries and deaths from vehicle crashes. The program is available in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Iowa.