RYE, N.Y. – The Rye YMCA hosted a reception for students, parents and community members on Tuesday to celebrate and highlight the posters created by 36 Rye High School digital photography students as part of the Y's “Distracted Driving Poster Contest.”
The poster contest was created three years ago with the help of the Rye City School District and the City of Rye as part of the “Safe Routes to School” initiative. The purpose of the contest is to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while walking or driving.
“It helps create a conversation around a really important issue,” Rye YMCA Executive Director Gregg Howells said. “By doing something like this and having the kids themselves working on it, it really does help create a conversation around healthier living, which is what the Y is all about.”
Digital photography teacher Andre Soto complimented the students for their efforts and said the project was a lot of fun to teach.
“It’s very poignant, I think it’s something that is a uniquely temporary issue,” Soto said. “It was amazing, they really embraced the idea.”
A panel of community figures, including Police Chief William Connors, Rye Record Publisher and Editor Robin Jovanovich, Rye YMCA Board Member Liz Fitzgerald, Westchester County Planner Charles Sutter, and Howells judged the students. All 36 posters were printed and are now on display at the Rye Free Reading Room.
At the reception, poster contest winner Payton Emery was recognized by the Rye YMCA. Emery, a freshman, said the inspiration for her poster came when she was walking to school with her friend one day and noticed her texting.
“I’m really honored,” Emery said. “I saw my friend walking and texting and I just took a picture of her and the next thing I know it’s on a poster.”