Eighth-grader Caleb Cheshire may be responsible for saving a life thanks to his winning idea for a Safe Driving PSA. The Durham Middle School student recently won the Drive Safe Atlanta film contest with his storyboard for a 30-second Public Service Announcement on seatbelt safety.
As a first-place winner, Caleb and his broadcasting class at Durham got the opportunity to work with an Emmy Award-winning director to produce his PSA, which will be featured at the Atlanta International Auto Show in March and on national television. Caleb also received $2,000 and tickets to the auto show.
In conjunction with the PSA, Caleb and his classmates filmed a behind-the-scenes news piece for Teen Kids News, which is syndicated across the country. After school, Caleb joined the film crew on a nearby street to record the PSA.
Winning the contest caught the Durham eighth grader by surprise.
“I was really excited! I couldn’t speak at all, and that usually doesn’t happen a lot. It was awesome,” Caleb said.
Caleb’s mom Brook Cheshire was bubbling with pride as she watched her son work with the director on the production of his PSA.
“We have always preached car seat and seatbelt safety. That has been a big thing in our house since [Caleb] was born. We were actually in a really bad car accident when he was about three months old. He just had bruises from his car seat,” Caleb’s mom explained.
Cheshire credits her son’s teacher, Trina Zwolle, for helping Caleb learn so much about broadcasting. She thinks it is a testimony to the school that Caleb wasn’t the only PSA winner in his broadcasting class. Fellow eighth-grade broadcasting student Alyssa Bryant won second place in the PSA contest, which included a $1,000 prize.
“About two years ago, I introduced this project in my classroom to promote script and storyboard practice as well as safe driving,” said Zwolle.
During the first year that her students participated in the safe driving contest, one of her students won runner up. The broadcasting teacher encourages all her students to enter the annual contest.
“I think it is important for students to understand that the art they create with these video cameras that they may play around with their friends can influence other people’s lives,” Zwolle added. “They can do that in such a positive way and influence safety and their peers.”
“I think people should wear seatbelts because it keeps them safe. When riding in a car, you can’t get as injured as when you are not wearing a seatbelt.”
“People should wear seatbelts because it is the law and it keeps them safe.”
“It greatly reduces the risk of dying or being injured if you were to get in a crash.”
“It keeps you in safe in a life or death situation.”