Brandywine Heights High School students were surprised with a $25,000 Celebrate My Drive grant from State Farm last week.
“Total shock,” was their reaction, said Michele Moore, Brandywine Heights Business Teacher, FBLA Advisor and SADD Advisor.
“I told them last week that we didn’t win, in fact I cried in class showing how upset I was, knowing all along we won. So needless to say everyone, including faculty and staff, were shocked,” Moore told The Patriot last week.
The theme of the assembly on Nov. 27 was “Holiday.” High School Principal Heather Piperato’s poem tied all aspects of school events, from Feed a Starving Artist, to the holiday concerts coming up, said Moore.
One of the teachers dressed as Santa and SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) students who ran the Celebrate My Drive event in October helped Santa pass out surprises.
“The SADD students were then asked to come on stage and the large $25,000 check was presented to the entire student body as a surprise!” said Brandywine Heights Superintendent Andrew Potteiger.“It was great to see – they were cheering and clapping the entire time!”
State Farm Agent Steve Drasher presented the grant.
“I was so excited when we got the official news that Brandywine had won. The students, faculty and community all worked together to make it happen,” said Drasher. “Announcing Brandywine as a winner was the culmination of months of planning and hard work. Letting everyone share in the surprise right before the holiday break was a great send off for all.”
Drasher explained that Celebrate My Drive was created to focus on safe driving habits and emphasize the benefits of safe choices.
“We will use the funds to promote safe driving,” Moore said.
There will be simulators in the spring for the students to experience. They are considering a Post-Prom event for the juniors and seniors, with prizes given out all night long, such as iPods, iPads, etc., along with entertainment and food.
“All this to keep them away from parties that usually occur after prom,” said Moore.
What does this win say about Brandywine’s students?
“Brandywine has a very strong group of students in SADD. These students were energetic, enthusiastic and supportive of Celebrate My Drive, and all of this transferred to the entire student body,” said Drasher. “The students probably learned way more than they ever imagined in planning, organizing and making all of it fun.”
Moore said she heard a student comment that this event was the first time they can recall that the entire school banned together for a cause.
“I was so happy to hear that,” said Moore. “State Farm set up the event that provided a learning experience for the participants. Questions had to answer questions targeting safe driving each day and I heard students comment on those questions daily.”
Potteiger saidthe ingenious part was that they had to take a quiz on safe driving each time they voted. He said the emphasis on safe driving, hands on the wheel, eyes on the road and the emphasis on no texting is a powerful message for all drivers, especially our young drivers.
“Driving is a wonderful privilege but it also comes with a ton of responsibility and this campaign was a great way to reemphasize that message,” said Potteiger.
Brandywine Heights High School is one of 100 schools across North America to receive a grant ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.
“I am SO PROUD of our High School students and community and especially Mrs. Moore and our SADDstudents who coordinated, championed and led the entire initiative!” said Potteiger.“It takes a team effort and we couldn’t have done it without the enthusiasm and support from Mr. Drasher and from all the individuals who voted – much thanks and appreciation!”
“I just want to thank the students, teachers, staff members, parents and the Brandywine community for supporting safe driving and helping us become 1 of 100 schools across the country to win,” said Moore. “Also I would like to acknowledge the time and dedication that the SADD students committed to during the Celebrate My Drive week. They spent hours reaching out to the community to inform them of the campaign and ask for their support.”
According to a State Farm release, more than 6 million safe driving commitments were made in support of over 3,500 schools throughout the U.S. and Canada. State Farm agents held more than 800 teen driving safety events between Oct. 18 and Oct. 26. These community celebrations focused on safe driving habits, emphasizing the benefits of safe choices as teens celebrate the freedom that comes with getting a driver’s license.
“My office and I had so much fun working with everyone at Brandywine on this initiative. The SADD group is already busy planning for next year’s Celebrate My Drive, and they hope to continue what they started this year and get even more votes next year!” said Drasher.