Lenape Regional District Students Drive Away With 3rd Annual U Got Brains Champion Schools Program Grand Prize

Student and faculty group photo wearing their Just Drive t-shirts.
    For the second time in three years, Lenape Regional High School District (LRHSD) students created an ambitious and innovative distracted driving campaign and drove home as champions from the 3rd Annual "U Got Brains Champion Schools Program." The district won a driving simulator and a $10,000 grant, which the district will use to help fund post graduation events at each of the four Lenape District schools giving students a safe place to celebrate.

    According to John Donaldson, LRHSD Director of Television Services, the nine Lenape District students who spearheaded the Heads Up, Eyes Forward! campaign, were elated and a bit exhausted driving home on Friday evening, June 7th. It was the culmination of an intense campaign of long days, evenings and weekends that began last summer and ended with a "sprint" over the past five months beginning in January. 

    “Winning the competition is very exciting because it validates all of the hard work that our students performed on the Heads Up, Eyes Forward! campaign throughout the school year,” said Donaldson.

    Lenape High School (LHS) senior Matt McGrorty said, "It was a great opportunity to grow as an individual, learning communications and public relations skills, while also helping to get out an incredibly important message to drivers in New Jersey and beyond."

    Highlights of Lenape Regional's winning campaign included a partnership with NJ Department of Transportation (NJDOT) spearheaded by McGrorty, whose persistence resulted in a visit to Lenape High School from NJDOT Executive Director of Transportation Systems Management Dennis Motiani and the Heads Up, Eyes Forward! message posted on 160 Dynamic Message Signs including the Garden State Parkway, NJ Expressway and AC Expressway. 

    Fellow LHS senior Alex McKeen, added, "It felt good to win, not because of the grand prize or the attention, but because all of our hard work in the last year paid off and that our safe driving message was heard farther than we had anticipated."

    Heads Up, Eyes Forward! hinged on an extensive social media campaign complemented by partnerships with organizations like NJDOT, local law enforcement and area businesses, highlighted by:

    • A partnership with Rizzieri Aveda School, "Save it for the vanity...NOT THE REARVIEW."
    • A Just Drive! t-shirt sale in partnership with junior Alyssa Lesher, with all proceeds benefiting Cooper University Hospital Trauma ICU.

    Stylish and smart, Shawnee High School senior Gabriella (Gabi) Flamini was prolific in getting the message out via social media, including the YouTube postings with makeup tips from Rizzieri. "This campaign is so important because so many people die from distracted driving in the US. The public needs to be educated about how their decisions on the road affect themselves and others around them." said Flamini.

    The Lenape Regional District was among only six statewide to enter the competition every year since its inception in 2011. In 2011, the contest’s first year, the LRHSD team was awarded one of two grand prizes for their entry, Stay Alive! Don't Text and Drive.
    To help promote and stay up to date with the Heads Up, Eyes Forward! safe driving campaign please like us on Facebook.