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Sunday, Aug 31, 2014
Plant City Courier

Durant awarded $1,000 for helping discourage texting while driving


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PLANT CITY – Durant High School received a $1,000 donation April 28 for placing third in the area for percentage of students who pledged to never text and drive.

Eighty-seven percent of Durant’s students signed a pledge as part of a contest promoted by the nonprofit organization More Health and in partnership with the Allstate Foundation.

“The most important thing we do is education and safe driving,” said More Health Executive Director Karen Buckenheimer.

The Tampa-based organization teaches students in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties age appropriate lessons on health and safety from kindergarten through 12th grade. Buckenheimer said the organization reaches more than 200,000 students.

The winner of this year’s contest was Pinellas Park High School with 98 percent of the student body pledging to not text and drive. Following closely behind was Pasco County’s Fivay High School with 97 percent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than nine fatalities and more than 1,060 injuries occur every day in the United States due to distracted driving, which includes texting while behind the wheel.

The contest entry at Durant High School was organized by the student government association. President Maddy Clifford, 18, said they gathered pledges by giving handouts to the club’s 32 members. Each handout contained 100 name slots and throughout the week students would sign the pledge.

“If they got to a hundred then they came back in and got another hundred,” she said, adding they used other methods to get the word out school-wide.

“We had posters made throughout the school that said ‘don’t text and drive’ and we had announcements,” Clifford said.

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