AT&T kicked off Distracted Driving Awareness month in Pennsylvania on April 3 during an event to announce the winners of The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) Foundation’s “It Can Wait” editorial contest.
Alayna McClain, a senior at Bermudian Springs High School, York Springs, is the 2019 first place winner.
McClain received a $500 cash prize during the PNA Foundation’s Student Keystone Press Awards luncheon during the America East News Media and Technology Summit in Hershey, Pa.
Since 2015, the PNA Foundation, along with PNA and PNA member newspapers, has teamed up with AT&T for the contest to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. High school students are asked to write a column or editorial that best answers the question, "Why is it important to take the It Can Wait pledge to drive distraction free?"
Beginning last fall, PNA members hosted local contests and encouraged high school students to help to make our roadways safer for Pennsylvanians. A winner was recognized in each community and entered in the statewide contest, which drew close to 125 entries from across the state. McClain was recognized by the Gettysburg Times.
In selecting McClain as the Pennsylvania winner, judges commented, “Alayna’s essay stood out for her creative use of minutes to tell a powerful story. It was succinctly well-written yet memorable and moving. Her work is worthy of recognition for making an impassioned plea to consider the loss of an entire future during a four-minute drive.”
Additional students were recognized with second and third place awards. Keiko Grove, a home-schooled senior from Mill Creek, Pa., received second place honors, while Paige Mitchell, a Tri-Valley High School student, placed third.