DMV: Teens From Around the State Honored in DMV-Travelers 7th Annual Teen Safe Driving Contest Ceremony

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April 7, 2015
For Immediate Release

Teens From Around the State Honored in DMV-Travelers
7th Annual Teen Safe Driving Contest Ceremony

WINDSOR The seventh annual DMV -Travelers Teen Safe Driving Video Contest top-ranking winners were announced tonight with Daniel Hand High School in Madison taking first place for the second straight year. Students crafted videos with the theme, "Steer Your Friends in the Right Direction."
Highway safety advocates, state and other officials honored teens from across Connecticut on Tuesday evening for their work to promote safe driving during the DMV-Travelers teen safe driving video contest.  This year's other winners were: Second Place Coginchaug Regional High School in Durham; Third Place William H. Hall High School in West Hartford; Fourth Place Howell Cheney Technical High School in Manchester; and Fifth Place Arts at the Capitol Theater in Willimantic.
"We all know the importance of safe driving, but safe teen drivers go on to become safe adult drivers. That's why spreading awareness through contests like these are so vital. I want congratulate and thank all the students and teams who participated," said Governor Dannel P. Malloy
"These students have done a thorough job in cautioning their peers to stay safe behind the wheel," said Attorney General Jepsen. "This year's participants deserve full recognition for their efforts in sending a powerful and persuasive message to all drivers about the dangers of distracted driving."
DMV Commissioner, Andres Ayala, Jr., said, "The theme Steer Your Friends in the Right Direction presents a conversation-starter and a clear message to teens that they have a unique influence on their peers.  These videos show that.  Teens can contribute to safety as a driver and a passenger."
Doreen Spadorcia, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Claim, Personal Insurance and Bond & Specialty Insurance., said, "We continue to support the Teen Safe Driving Video Contest because we believe strongly in the power of programs that encourage safe driving. This contest exemplifies and encourages positive peer behavior that will help contribute to better teen driving population and safer roads in Connecticut. Congratulations to all the winners."
The Contest at a Glance
Five winning schools among the finalists will share in a $15,000 cash prize provided by Travelers, the contest's co-sponsor that also hosted the awards ceremony at its flagship Claim U facility in Windsor, CT. Travelers also donated prizes and gifts to the students and high schools.
In addition in separate awards, Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven won the DMV Teen Safe Driving Multi-Cultural Award and New Canaan High School won The Travelers Challenge.
There were 114 student-team submissions that involved a total of nearly 350 students statewide representing 34 high schools. Videos of the winners and other finalists can be viewed on DMV's YouTube site at:
Daniel Hand High School will receive $5,000 for first place, Coginchaug Regional High School will receive $4,000 for second place, William H. Hall High School will receive $3,000 for third place, Howell Cheney Technical High School will receive $2,000 for fourth place and Arts at the Capitol Theater will receive $1,000 for fifth.  Wilbur Cross High School will receive $1,000 from the multi-cultural award sponsor, Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital and New Canaan High School will also receive $1,000 from Travelers for garnering the most views on the DMV Teen Safe Driving YouTube Channel.
Also, students on the first-place winning team were awarded tablets from AT&T.
John Emra, President of AT&T Connecticut said, "We are pleased to join Governor Malloy, DMV Commissioner Ayala and his entire team, and the Travelers in their efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.  On-going awareness campaigns have proven time and again to be one of the most important tools to change behavior and save lives."
Teen Drivers:  Steer Your Friends in the Right Direction
The contest theme, "Steer Your Friends in the Right Direction," was developed by a group of student advisors representing several Connecticut high schools.  The advisors said this theme delivers a simple message and challenges other teens to craft a message that can influence others to drive more safely.
In a teenager's life, his or her peers tend to hold a great influence on them. The theme asked participants to demonstrate a creative, unique and effective message about the influence teens have on one another to make responsible and safe decisions about driving either as a driver or as a passenger. To enter this year's DMV contest, high school students were asked to direct, shoot and edit a 25-second public service announcement.
Students advisors working on the project are: Audrey Apanovitch of Glastonbury, attends Glastonbury High School; Allie Caselli and Stephanie Lewis, both of Woodbury, and Hannah McCollam, of New Fairfield, all of whom attend Nonnewaug High School; Ama Appiah of Middletown and Sophia Pelletier of East Hampton, both attend Mercy High School;  Abhishek Gupta of Rocky Hill, attends Xavier High School;  Benjamin Harlee of Hartford, attends Classical Magnet School; and Estefania Maya of Wethersfield, attends Wethersfield High School.
The DMV, Travelers and other safety advocates plan to use the videos submitted in a variety of outreach programs that it conducts as well as offer them to schools, businesses, government agencies, advocacy groups and other partners in teen safe driving.
Other promotional contest partners include AT&T, the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association; the Connecticut State Police; Mourning Parents Act (!MPACT), (a bereaved parents group); the Connecticut Children's Medical Center; Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital; Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center; The Connecticut Emergency Nurses Association, the state Department of Public Health; The state Department of Insurance, the state Department of Transportation; and the state Division of Criminal Justice.
DMV started the contest following its lead in crafting tougher teen driving laws (, including longer passenger restrictions and curfews as well as increased penalties for violations and added training requirements.
Other Awards to Teens
The Travelers Challenge - $1,000 to the school in the Top 11 getting the most YouTube views on DMV's Center for Teen Safe Driving YouTube Channel. It is to be used in providing a teen safe driving program. This year it went to a finalist video from New Canaan High School for garnering 3,913 views as of April 1, 2015. Travelers is the award's corporate prize sponsor.
DMV Teen Safe Driving Multi-Cultural Award - $1,000 to the school presenting the best multi-cultural messaging in a video submitted to the contest.  Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven was selected among four other finalists with a message of diversity. Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Program is the award's sponsor.
All 11 overall finalist teams received certificates from Governor Dannel P. Malloy and DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala, Jr., as well as gift baskets from Travelers.
Screening panels, including representatives from law enforcement, media, students and parents, narrowed the 114 submissions to Top 11 finalists, which included a tie vote in one instance for the total of 11 teams. Afterwards a panel of judges representing highway safety advocates that included Attorney General George Jepsen, DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala, Jr., Travelers Executive Vice President, Claims Services, Robert C. Brody, and other safety advocates, selected the ranking winners.
The following are the top-prize ranking videos based on judges' review of overall impact, originality and cinematic style:
  • First place Shane Sweitzer (student director), Nick Anderson, Brian Casagrande, Isabelle Kennedy and Sabrile McGinn of Daniel Hand High School in Madison.   (YouTube link:
  • Second place Cory Hassman (student director), Jared Anderson, Joseph Ertle and MacKenzie Rulnick of Coginchaug Regional High School in Durham. (YouTube link:
  • Third place Gabriel Amaya (student director), David Ian James Blakelock, Ian Kunsey and Alex Liu of William H. Hall High School in West Hartford. (YouTube link:
  • Fourth place Makayla Mowel (student director), Kelsey Guerrero, Alex Hetu and Alex Klimkoski of Howell Cheney Technical High School in Manchester.  (YouTube link:
  • Fifth place Rachel Martin (student director), Philip Chovnick and Graham Frassinelli of Arts at the Capitol Theater of Willimantic.  (YouTube link:
Remaining Six (6) Finalists
  • Arts at the Capitol Theater (Willimantic) Emily Ann Chromik (student director), Owen Collins, Elizabeth Henderson, Eric Long and Danielle Wilson. (YouTube link:
  • Daniel Hand High School (Madison) Gianni LoMonaco (student director), Isabella Crocker and Molly Zalman. (YouTube link:
  • Daniel Hand High School (Madison) Drew Montgomery (student director), Shelby Allen and Flynn Driscoll.  (YouTube link:
  • East Lyme High School Ji Yuan Cheng (student director), Melinda Li, Misty Riquier, Robin Waterman and Jessica Young. (YouTube link:
  • New Canaan High School Georgia Connick (student director) and Chloe DeMauro. (YouTube link:
  • Rockville High School Nicholas Bartos (student director), Julia Bondaies, Erin Gonyeau, Samantha Morales, Alex Pisano and Chelsea Poliski.  (YouTube link:  
DMV Teen Safe Driving Multi-Cultural Award
  • Winner - Wilbur Cross High School (New Haven) Brian Vazquez (student director), Denisel Cerda, Jesmarie Hernandez and Noel Mitchell.  (YouTube link:
  • Finalist Arts at the Capitol Theater (Willimantic) - Joshua Giroux (student director), Eric Long and Hannah Meikle.  (YouTube link:
  • Finalist Arts at the Capitol Theater (Willimantic) Owen Collins (student director), Jorrel Morralles and Emily Russell.  (YouTube link:
  • Finalist East Lyme High School Timothy Zack (student director), Brian Glaindo and Zane Smallidge. (YouTube link:
  • Finalist Engineering and Sciences University Magnet (Hamden) - Treyana Wearing, Khaled Badran, Tysean Wooten, Godwin Jean-Baptiste and Nima Mansouri.  (YouTube link:
List of All Entries in the DMV Teen Video Contest by School and Student Director
Below is a list of all the directors who submitted a qualifying video entry. Only the student director is listed below, although most video contest entries came from a group effort by students. The number listed after each high school represents the number of entries submitted from that school. An asterisk (*) next to a student director's name signifies that the entry was one of the five top winners. Two asterisks (**) next to a student director's name indicates that the entry was one of the six finalists in the contest.
Arts at the Capitol Theater (Willimantic)
Emily Ann Chromik**
Owen Collins
Joshua Giroux
Adelina Hall
Daniel Marinelli
Rachel Martin*
Evan Saunders
Sarah Smith
Jonathan Winicki
Branford High School
Tess Palluzzi
Bunnell High School (Stratford)
Paige LeComer
Canton High School
Peyton Jackson
Sofia Langou
Dakota Lawson
Kayah Velasquez
Jacob Zielinsky
Cheney Technical High School (Manchester)
Dylan Arre
Nemar Alexander
Josue Cardona
Brett Gentry
Alexander Hetu
Cameron Lovett
Makayla Mowel*
Gabrielle Ruggiero
Tristan Spence
Akini Stevenson
Coginchaug Regional High School (Durham)
Jessica Coughlin
Cory Hassman*
Matthew Quickly
Brendan Rea
Conard High School (West Hartford)
Randy Begin
Daniel Hand High School (Madison)
Gianni LoMonaco**
Drew Montgomery**
Nate Palumbo
Reid Staples
Shane Sweitzer*
Darien High School (SADD Chapter)
Annabel Hartgan
Peyton Murray
E.O. Smith High School (Mansfield)
Heather Abdullah
Kailee Collins
Vincent Walliser
East Lyme High School
Rebecca Alaimo
Ji Yuan Cheng**
Victoria Chong
Lucas Johnson
Isabel Mugovero
Griffin Roderick
Timothy Zack
Engineering and Science University Magnet School (Hamden)
Alexcina Figueroa
Terrance Hunt
J. Stephen Joseph II
Carly Karajanis
Nylie Sauffian
Treyana Wearing
Glastonbury High School
Joshua Wagner
Hall High School (West Hartford)
Gabriel AmayaI*
Jake Gershon
Ashley McDonald
Hamden High School
Joseph Benitez
Masuk High School (Monroe)
Michael Dydzuhn
Christopher Glogan
Thomas McKane
Dylan Meade
Zachary Palmieri
Ryan Tedesco
Jack VanGemert
Nathan Hale Ray High School (Moodus)
Matthew Tung
New Canaan High School
Georgia Connick**
Newington High School
Renata Pastuszak
Nonnewaug High School
Richard Gillete
Dean Jones
Mackenzie Schaeffer
North Haven High School 
Aidan Coyle
Amanda Mocolino
Parish Hill High School (Chaplin)
Zack Holcomb
Michael Quick
Rockville High School
Nicholas Bartos**
Simsbury High School
Victoria Davis
South Windsor High School
Maximo Catala
Andrew Fulop
Scott Skenyan
The Williams School (New London)
Lucy Burr
Mackenzie Campunaro
Shepherd Caruso
Shawn Conroy
Shannon Demers
Oliver Falla
Marlena Freitas
Eli Griswold
Ethan Iglehart
Matthew Littlefield
Patrick Madaus
Andrew Myslik
Alexandra Norman
Raj Patel
Sam Schavoir
Paola Vangjeli
Katie Winchester
Vinal Technical High School (Middletown)
Jonathan Bautista
Christopher Cohen
William Garrett
David Mann
West Haven High School
Aidan Krala
Kyle Lathrop
Kevin McDaniel
Westhill High School (Stamford)
Christopher Janocha
Weston High School
Frank Lugossy
Roberto Ordonez
Hannah Sather
Wethersfield High School
Spencer Gaunt
Wilbur Cross High School (New Haven)
Brian Vazquez
Woodland Regional High School (Beacon Falls)
Drew Chura
Matthew Terry
Xavier High School (Middletown)
Frederick Augur

Content Last Modified on 4/9/2015 2:14:45 PM