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7th Grade Student's FCCLA Project Combats Distracted Driving

mackenzie butlerWhen traveling in and around the AW Community this spring, you might see brightly colored, hand drawn prototypes of bumper stickers encouraging drivers to reduce distractions behind the wheel. 

The project was the idea of Anthony Wayne Junior High seventh grader, Mackenzie Barker. She spearheaded the campaign for her Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Programs in Action project. Mackenzie developed a bumper sticker contest to promote safe driving and raise awareness of distracted driving for the Families Acting for Community Traffic Safety (F.A.C.T.S.) peer education program.

"I think it's important to reach teens about driving safety before they start learning to drive," Mackenzie said. "I am more knowledgeable now about how dangerous it is and and think that this project will help me be safer behind the wheel."

She studied accident data and discovered that many crashes could have been avoided if the driver was more attentive. In order to help raise awareness, Mackenzie created a school-wide bumper sticker contest, encouraging students to submit their most persuasive entries. She recorded an educational video which was played during HomeBase to introduce the topic and reached out to local businesses to solicit prizes for the top six submissions. 

Mackenzie collected dozens of prototype bumper stickers and asked staff members to vote for those with the most compelling design and message. She will tally the survey results and award prizes, including two $100 Amazon gift cards to the bumper stickers who receive the most votes.

She will then distribute the art for display at local businesses to encourage the broader community to turn off their phones while in the car.

While Mackenzie's project focuses on texting while driving, she stressed that phone use is not the only distraction that tempts drivers.

"Distracted driving can be everything from changing the radio, to putting on makeup - anything that takes your attention away from the road," she said. "It only takes five seconds to travel the length of a football field, and a lot can happen in that distance."

FCCLA is a career and technical student organization that encourages students to explore careers, develop future-ready skills and make a difference in their schools and communities by addressing personal, work and societal issues. 

National Programs in Action is a National FCCLA program that encourages development of personal and professional skills of research and critical thinking, communications, research, event planning and design, and stakeholder relationships to address a problem. Students have the opportunity to present their projects in local, state, and national competition.  

The Anthony Wayne chapter of FCCLA is a satellite program of Penta Career Center. Mrs. Kay-Lynne Schaller is the Family Consumer Science teacher at AW Junior High and the seventh and eighth grade advisor for the chapter.

Many thanks to Steve Rodgers Ford, and JoJo's Pizza for donating prizes in support of Mackenzie's project.

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