Although the Arrive Alive Creative Contest has been around for eight years, you might not have heard about it. But 20 recent contest winners sure have, and if the annual contest — which hit a record 125 entries this year — keeps growing, we’ll all be hearing a lot more about it.
The contest, sponsored by the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein, began eight years ago with just two Maine high schools. It grew steadily, and this year was open to seniors in high schools across the state.
The contest is open to all high-school seniors, with awards given in various categories. The student must convey, through some creative medium, the dangers of impaired or distracted driving. Entries run the gamut from drawings, paintings, stories, essays, poems, songs, music videos, short films, and more.
“The more creative, the better,” said Nathan Bergeron, marketing and public relations director for the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein. “It’s always exciting to see the entries pile up in my office — and I get a sneak preview before we start the judging process.”
He’s seen everything, including a message in a bottle and even a board game. A rap song that was one of this year’s winners “just kind of blew us away,” said Bergeron.
This year’s contest saw a record 125 entries. The winners were honored at awards banquets in Bangor and Portland, where winners won five first-place laptops, five second-place iPads, and 10 third-place iPod Touches. All other entrants received gift bags.
Although parents have constantly told kids about the dangers of driving under the influence and distracted driving, Bergeron says the contest goes beyond just telling them. Instead, they get directly involved and thinking about it.
“It’s really a great message to teenagers who are still new to driving and still in their formative years — as well as their parents who see their kids taking the initiative, and the parents learn from their kids,” he said.
Bergeron said that while we obviously need to keep hammering home the importance of not driving while impaired, it’s also tremendously vital to build increased awareness about distracted driving. Texting while driving was made illegal in Maine in 2011, and it might be more dangerous than drunk driving, since your eyes aren’t even on the road when you’re texting.
“Our attorneys deal with personal injury and car accidents on a regular basis,” Bergeron said. “They see firsthand the effects of dangerous accidents such as drinking and driving and distracted driving. This is one way Joe wanted to give back to the community.”
Bornstein, who has practiced personal-injury law in Maine since 1974, told the Bangor Daily News that helping thousands of victims of alcohol- and text-related accidents has given him a firsthand perspective of the physical and emotional devastation Maine families have suffered.
“As a personal-injury attorney, I feel it is my duty to fellow Mainers — especially our school-age children — to do all that I can to reduce the number of such accidents,” Bornstein said. “Through the Arrive Alive Creative Contest, we have reached the hearts and minds of hundreds of Maine’s high school seniors. These students, through their creative works, have helped raise the awareness about the tragedy caused by accidents that involve drunk driving and texting.”
The effort has involved many people at the law firm, but also beyond. The firm does a mailout to guidance counselors every year, and the program wouldn’t be as successful without the help of the schools, teachers, and counselors.
“It’s a wonderful program,” Bornstein said. “We were really ahead of our time, especially with the texting [angle]. We feel like we’ve influenced a lot of Maine kids.”
If you’ll be a senior this fall, start planning for the 2013 contest. Entries will be due in May. Visit www.ArriveAliveCreativeContest.com for more information, and to Like the contest on Facebook.
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Here are the 20 statewide winners. Their winning entries will be up on the Arrive Alive Web site.
Casie Frederick, Hermon High School; Bronwynn Eaton, Dexter Regional High School; Maxwell Brown, Waterville High School; Zach Martin, Calvary Chapel Christian School; and Jenn Jasmin Seneres, Thornton Academy.
Thomas Signoretti, Wells High School; Chelsey Burnell, Scopee Valley High School; Marion Fearing, South Portland High School; Tabitha Barnard, Mt. Ararat High School; Victoria Webber, Washington Academy.
Katryna Gilson, Deering High School; Amelia Tacheny, Dirigo High School; Alana Saunders, Royal Academy; Whitney Sargent, Narraguagus High School; Derek Leavitt, Fryeburg Academy; Michael Anderson, Sacopee Valley High School; Kyle Petty, Narraguagus High School; Jazmin Knapp, Mt. Abram Regional High School; Garret Carver, Dirigo High School; Allison Rowe, Bangor High School.