Beardstown High School applied and was selected by the Illinois Department of Transportation and partners to participate in the 2013-2014 Operation Teen Safe Driving (OTSD) program. The statewide safety initiative is designed for teens to educate their peers about driving responsibly in an effort to decrease the number of fatalities and injuries involving teenagers in Illinois.
The high schools statewide selected to participate in this innovative program utilize Ford Motor Company Fund’s nationally recognized Ford Driving Skills for Life program. The selected high schools are equally distributed in seven regions across the state.
“We are extremely proud of the students at Beardstown High School who created a customized and comprehensive peer-led program which led to their entry into the 2013-2014 Operation Teen Safe Driving Program,” said Scott Riddle, Principal at BHS. “We commend the efforts and hard work of these students and their sponsor, Mrs. Debbie Hamilton. Their program has positively impacted not only the students in the high school but also our community.”
The BHS students involved in OTSD this year include: Teresa Barralaga, Neal Beard, Samantha Blair, Ross Blakeman, Stephanie Canton, Shelby Carey, Karina Carreon, Edith Chaidez, Bailey Cooper, Breanna Dilley, Claire Hardwick, Mackenzie Icenogle, Mikaila Kirchner, Melanie Lael, Summer Lindsey, Whitney Long, Paulina Madrigal, Ireden Okotie, Alejandro Rodriquez, Courtney Root, Jennifer Stock, and Mattie Swan. The group’s sponsor is Debbie Hamilton.
The selection process for the Operation Teen Safe Driving program requires students to identify issues relating to traffic safety in their community (i.e., underage drinking, driving unbuckled, impaired and distracted). Students are required to provide information explaining how they would combat the traffic safety problem and implement a teen awareness program in their school and community.
The selected schools have received $2,000 in grant funding from IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety, the Ford Motor Company Fund, and The Allstate Foundation. The selected schools will develop and implement a peer-to-peer based program and present a report at the conclusion of the program. Winners are selected from each region and each winning school will receive prize money to help with post-prom.
The top five schools from each region will be invited to send students to a “Driving Skills for Life, Ride and Drive” event which is sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund. Students will observe professional drivers on four separate courses demonstrating critical driving skills. Teens will then have the opportunity to drive the same courses with the professional driver sitting in the passenger seat to provide tips and assistance. The Office of the Governor, the Illinois Secretary of State, IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois State Board of Education, in partnership with the Ford Motor Company Fund and The Allstate Foundation are all supporting the Operation Teen Safe Driving program. Also supporting the Illinois campaign are the Governors Highway Safety Association and SADD (“Students Against Destructive Decisions”).
For more information about the Operation Teen Safe Driving Program, please visit www.teensafedrivingillinois.org.
BHS OTSD members listed L-R, Top Row: Ross Blakeman, Jennifer Stock, Summer Lindsey, Samantha Blair, Melanie Lael, Alejandro Rodriguez, Ireden Okotie. Middle Row: Paulina Madrigal, Mackenzie Icenogle, Mikaila Kirchner, Teresa Barralaga, Edith Chaidez. Bottom Row: Mattie Swan, Whitney Long, Stephanie Canton, Breanna Dilley, Courtney Root. Not Pictured: Neal Beard, Bailey Cooper, Shelby Carey, and Claire Hardwick.