High school students in Missouri have a chance to win $500 in a program to cut down texting while driving. Lee's Summit Tribune will award their local winner $200.
John Sondag, president of AT&T Missouri, announced the contest Sept. 6 at the Missouri Press Association (MPA) convention in Kansas City.
"I am proud to announce that AT&T, the Missouri Press Association and local member newspapers have the opportunity to partner together on a meaningful contest, which will challenge Missouri high school students across the state to write an editorial or opinion column highlighting the dangers of texting while driving and encouraging their peers to take the It Can Wait pledge," Sondag said.
Mark Maassen of The Kansas City Star and president of the MPA, invited Missouri newspapers to sponsor the contest in their communities.
Texting while driving is an epidemic. More than 100,000 crashes a year involve drivers who are texting, often causing life-changing injuries and deaths, Sondag said. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident.
Despite knowing the risks of texting while driving, 43 percent of teens admit to texting while driving. However, there is an opportunity to change this behavior, he said. Ninety percent of teen drivers say they would stop if a friend in the car asked them and 78 percent say they are likely not to text and drive if friends tell them it is wrong.
Lee's Summit Tribune, along with the MPA and AT&T, will sponsor and challenge Missouri high school students across the state to write an editorial or opinion column highlighting the dangers of texting while driving and encouraging their peers to take the "It Can Wait" pledge.
Students will write an editorial or opinion column about the dangers of texting while driving.
The piece will answer the question, "Why is it important to take the It Can Wait pledge to never text and drive?" The piece will highlight the dangers of texting while driving.
The piece must include the following call to action, "Take the pledge to never text and drive at ItCanWait.com."
Who can participate in this contest?
The contest is open to all students enrolled in any Missouri public or private high school.
How are entries to be submitted?
Students can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org , mail or hand-deliver entries to the Lee’s Summit Tribune, 219 SE Douglas, Lee's Summit, MO 64063
Contest ends at the local level October 19, 2013.
Lee's Summit winners announced by the Lee's Summit Tribune and forwarded to MPA Office October 25, 2013.
Contest ends with final statewide winner announced November 1, 2013.
Who will judge this contest?
Lee's Summit Tribune will determine the local winners and send to the MPA office. The MPA will then determine the one statewide winner.
What is the prize for the statewide winner?
$500 prize, a tour of the MU School of Journalism and the MPA Building in Columbia, and a dinner for the student and his/her guests with the leadership of AT&T, the MPA and The Lee's Summit Tribune Publisher.