Ferndale High School Principal Lisa Williams, student Dylan Hoey and the Suburban Collection’s Dan Wiebelhaus pose with Hoey’s check for $1,500 for creating a winning public service announcement about distracted driving.

Ferndale High School Principal Lisa Williams, student Dylan Hoey and the Suburban Collection’s Dan Wiebelhaus pose with Hoey’s check for $1,500 for creating a winning public service announcement about distracted driving.

Photo by Donna Agusti


Ferndale students win contest to bring awareness to distracted driving

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published April 2, 2019

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FERNDALE — Four students in Ferndale Public Schools were awarded prize money in a contest to bring attention to distracted driving.

The contest, called “Focus on the Road,” was started by the Suburban Collection and asked local high school students to create 30-second public service announcements on the dangers of distracted driving and to encourage people to pay attention to the road. The prizes for first, second and third places were $1,500, $1,000 and $500, respectively.

Dan Fuoco, social media manager with the Suburban Collection, said that with the rise of deaths related to distracted driving, the Suburban Collection wanted to bring awareness to this issue.

“We just don’t want to see that. We want to do whatever we can to help eliminate distracted driving,” he said.

Focus on the Road started last year in the Farmington, Waterford, Troy and Novi school districts. This year, the contest was extended to Ann Arbor and Ferndale.

“We just wanted to have students create 30-second videos about the dangers of distracted driving in hopes that they’ll share it with their peers and kind of eliminate this issue,” Fuoco said.

The second-place winners of the contest in Ferndale were Mar’Kya Smith and Maria Singleton, of University High School, and the third-place winner was She’Tera Lowery, also of University High.

The first-place winner was Dylan Hoey, of Ferndale High School, who was surprised in class by school and Suburban Collection officials with the announcement of his win March 28.

Hoey said that when he saw the Suburban Collection officials and his principal, Lisa Williams, walk into the room, he had a pretty good idea what the announcement was going to be. He just had no idea that he had won first place.

“I was a little bit surprised,” the 15-year-old freshman said. “I had just finished taking a test. I was not expecting it today or anything like that.”

Hoey’s video laid out how dangerous it is when a driver isn’t paying attention to the road and how people can easily prevent themselves from becoming a distracted-driving statistic.

“I thought it was important to talk about how it was affecting people and why or how you can prevent it,” he said.

“Distracted driving is a big problem, and raising a little bit of awareness would be good,” Hoey said.

Hoey said he might use his $1,500 winnings to make some upgrades to his computer.

School staff members were made aware of the contest earlier in the school year and urged students to participate.

Williams said it was encouraging to see the participation from students in the district. She noted how attached students, as well as adults, can be to their phones, and they might think it is safe to answer them while driving.

“So the message to me is very strong, and to know that there is at least (four) kids between our two schools who found it in their hearts to create a project to address it is valuable.”

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