The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

School Columnists

December 5, 2013

Conneaut wins $25,000 State Farm award

CONNEAUT — This past week, Conneaut High School made history. Through the Celebrate My Drive event sponsored by State Farm Insurance, CHS was awarded a $25,000 grant from the company.

“I was very excited and proud,” said Chris Brecht, Conneaut’s local State Farm Insurance agent and sponsor for the school in the program.

CHS students were introduced to the event in an assembly on Oct. 17. The students participated in many challenges concerning safe driving, and T-shirts featuring the slogan “2N2,” two hands on the wheel and two eyes on the road, were distributed to staff and students.

From Oct. 18 to Oct. 26, any person over the age of 14 could go online to the Celebrate My Drive website to join the online community. By entering their email, birthday, selected high school and answering two questions about safe driving, community members made their commitment to drive safely. Voting could be done once per day per person during that nine-day period.

The Celebrate My Drive program was available nationwide for any registered school and separated into two groups: small school (fewer than 750 students) and large schools (750 or more students). Eight first place prizes, four per size category, were awarded with a $100,000 grant while the next 45 schools per size category won $25,000. This year, there were more than 3,500 schools that participated throughout the country, with only one other school participating from Ashtabula County.

Throughout the voting period, Brecht visited CHS every day to keep up the motivation in the student body. Laptops were set up throughout the lunch periods so every student had access to the website. Brecht and CHS Principal Dawn Zappitelli also went above and beyond to open the school on Oct. 26, the last day to commit to safe driving. The school was open from 9 a.m. to noon for any student who came in to vote. Doughnuts were supplied by Brecht to those students who showed up to vote. That day, Conneaut advanced its rank from the mid-50s to the upper 30s position. To get the community involved, Facebook and email were utilized to broadcast information about the event to the community.

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