RYE, N.Y. -- Rye students are using artwork to discourage distracted driving through a collaborative program between the Rye YMCA, the Rye Arts Center and Rye High School.
The "Heads Up!" poster contest was created four years ago as part of the Y's Safe Routes to School initiative to spread awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and walking.
Students from Nicole Chiffriller's digital photography class at the high school watched a video about distracted driving created posters using their own photography and statistics about what can happen while texting and driving.
The students narrowed down the 66 entries to 21 finalists, with three winners selected by a panel of judges. Maeve McGowan came in first place, Ellen Scully came in second and Katrina Roth came in third.
Chiffriller said that she was amazed by the work the students produced. She likes taking part in the project because it allows the students to apply the skills they learn in her class, as well as spread awareness about an important issue."
"My hope is that, four years into this program, that the students are more aware and help collectively create a safer community," she said.
Scully used her two little twin brothers as models for her poster.
"I always think of how important it is to set a good example for them," she said, "I thought of maybe using them to portray how important it is to set an example for your children and not texting, because it will have really sever consequences."
Roth said that her poster was inspired by the video and a story of a man whose distracted driving ruined the lives of an entire family.
"It was really serious and really emphasized the bad side of texting and driving," Roth said. "So that was part of my idea when I was thinking of what to portray in my picture."
Mayor Joe Sack, who sat on the panel of judges who picked the winner, said, "We shouldn't do it ever, not even once, and this is a good reminder of that."
The winners were honored at a ceremony at the Rye Arts Center Wednesday evening. All the posters from the contest will be on display at the Rye Arts Center until Feb. 14.