Drunken-driving video wins local girls award
By Bethany Hofstetter
Published: Tuesday, June 5, 2012, 12:18 p.m.
Updated: Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Two Hampton High School seniors took an issue close to them and turned it into an award-winning video entry in the 2012 Sixth Annual Edgar Snyder & Associates' "Words to be Heard" scholarship contest. Bridget Bianconi and Megan Roethlein were presented with a $2,500 scholarship, to be split between them, for the creation of their five-minute video "A Second Chance," which details the dangers of drinking and driving. Roethlein said she was inspired by the stories she heard on the news of drunken-driving accidents, especially involving young students, and wanted to bring a voice to the issue, so she teamed up with her friend and fellow Technology Student Association club member Bianconi."We thought it was a really great opportunity to bring awareness to the topic of drinking and driving," Roethlein said. "You see a lot of kids today don't take it seriously, not that it's a joke, but I don't think they take it seriously — the consequences of drinking and driving."The students' video tells the story of a student who attends a party with his friends. He submits to peer pressure and accepts a drink. On the drive home, the student gets into a car crash and is the only survivor. The film ends with him visiting the gravesites of his friends while carrying a noose but then flashing back to the party, where he declines the beer.Roethlein composed the original song, "Ambition," which plays during the film, and the final words to flash across the screen ask viewers: "What got in the way of your ambition? You have so much to live for. Don't drink and drive."Bianconi and Roethlein's entry was one of more than 400 entries from western Pennsylvania, which is almost double the number of entries last year. Chris Vitale, manager of injury prevention at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, sat on the panel of judges from local prevention organizations and law-enforcement services. "It was really difficult to separate out," Vitale said of the submissions. "I think what was real unique about theirs (Bianconi and Roethlein's) was there was a lot of themselves in it: the song, the singing ... They didn't just pick something that was popular, they put themselves out there, and I think that is something courageous."The students spent about three months working on the film, but, Bianconi said, all of the hard work was worth it. "We want kids to stop and think about the choices they make while they are out," she said. "I was really proud of Megan and I. We put a lot of hard work into the video."Lisa Rosen, communications director for Edgar Snyder & Associates, said the scholarship competition was created out of the law firm's passion for students and their education and prevention of drunken and distracted driving. Rosen said each year she is amazed by the entries and effort students put into their submissions, which she hopes will make a difference in their lives and the lives of their friends. "I think just even submitting an entry gives you a much keener sense of how important it is to drive safely," she said. "I think those kids are definitely thinking twice about if they text and drive and drink and drive, and hopefully, it has an influence on their peers. We definitely feel it's their peers who are going to make a difference."To view the winners' videos, visit the website at www.edgarsnyder.com/2012 scholarships.
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