Willimantic – A video by students at EASTCONN’s Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT) arts magnet high school has won third place in Connecticut’s annual Department of Motor Vehicles teen safe driving video contest. “I’m very proud of all of our students,” said ACT Principal Tracy Goodell-Pelletier. “It’s really an honor for all of them.”Five winning videos were selected from among 137 video entries submitted by 549 students from 46 high schools across Connecticut. This year’s DMV contest theme was “Teen Drivers: Put Your Brakes on Distractions!” and students were competing for $15,000 in prize money for their high schools. The contest’s corporate sponsor, Travelers, Inc., provided the cash prizes, which are shared among the top five winning videos. The DMV contest requires teams of students to develop a 25-second public service video warning against the dangers of distracted teen driving. Entries are judged by a panel that includes Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Attorney General George Jepson, DMV Commissioner Melody Currey, Travelers executives, safety advocates and students. This year’s five top videos will now be used as public service announcements by safety advocates across a variety of media, schools and settings, according to Currey, who attended the awards ceremony Monday, hosted by Travelers at its Windsor facility, Travelers Claim University. The DMV video contest is intended to help save lives by communicating peer-to-peer the importance of behind-the-wheel safety to Connecticut’s teenage drivers. “It’s a message that every student should hear,” said ACT senior David Nilson after the DMV ceremony ended Monday evening. Nilson was a member of the ACT audio/video team that won third place. “Students should drive safely. Don’t be distracted by everything around you and keep focused when you’re on the road,” he said. ACT is the only school in Connecticut to make the Top 10 every year since the DMV video contest began six years ago. This is the first year that ACT has had two videos among the DMV’s Top 10 finalists. Last year, ACT’s student video won first place in the DMV contest. ACT’s third-place win this year will bring $3,000 to the small arts magnet high school, which is administered by EASTCONN in downtown Willimantic; the school enrolls 140 students in grades 9-12 from across northeastern Connecticut. ACT students who created, scripted, animated and filmed the third-place video, titled “Brake-ing Habits,” include senior David Nilson, of Mansfield; junior Philip Chovnick, of Willimantic; junior Graham Frassinelli, of Willington; junior Karlyle Palmer, of Willington; and junior Danielle Wilson, of Windham.
In this year’s DMV contest, first place went to Daniel Hand High School in Madison; second place went to William H. Hall High School in West Hartford; third place was earned by EASTCONN’s Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT) in Willimantic; fourth place went to Simsbury High School; and fifth place was earned by East Lyme High School. To view the 2014 Top 10 DMV videos, including the five winners, visit YouTube and search for “DMV 2014 Teen Safe Driving Video Contest Top 10”. To learn more about ACT and its audio/video program, contact ACT Principal Tracy Pelletier at 860-465-5636, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.eastconn.org/act.