DMV: Winners Selected in 8th Annual DMV-Travelers Teen Safe Driving Video Contest

Department of Motor Vehicles

For Immediate Release
February 15, 2016

Winners Selected in DMV-Travelers
8th Annual Teen Safe Driving Contest

HARTFORD – The eighth annual DMV -Travelers Teen Safe Driving Video Contest top-ranking winners were announced today with Weston High School earning overall first place and the multicultural award. (See list below) Students crafted videos with the theme, "When Shifting into Drive, Keep the Safety of Others in Mind!"

State officials, Travelers’ executives, students and other teen driving safety advocates from around the state met today in Hartford and endorsed the winning student-made videos in the 2016 DMV-Travelers Teen Safe Driving Video Contest for high school students.  

This year's other winners were: Second Place – William H. Hall High School in West Hartford; Third and Fourth Places – Daniel Hand High School in Madison; Fifth Place – Arts at the Capitol Theater in Willimantic.

“Getting the message of safe driving to our youngest and most inexperienced drivers is critical to keep them safe behind the wheel,” Governor Dannel P. Malloy said. “Contests like these engage teens in a positive way to develop safe habits while driving.  I would like to congratulate and thank all of the students and schools who participated this year.”

“These videos continue to send very powerful and persuasive messages to all drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. In its eighth year, the DMV-Travelers Teen Safe Driving Video Contest creates a significant impact on our young drivers,” said Attorney General George Jepsen. “These students have always done excellent work in trying to caution fellow students to stay safe behind the wheel and this contest is well-deserved recognition for their efforts.”

“We are proud of this year’s winners and all participants for communicating an important message to their peers,” DMV Deputy Commissioner Michael Bzdyra said.   “This year’s contest theme --  "When Shifting into Drive, Keep the Safety of Others in Mind!" – reminds teens of the responsibilities of driving and to take others into consideration when making decisions behind the wheel.”

"We are proud to support the DMV's Teen Safe Driving Video Contest,” said Doreen Spadorcia, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Claim, Personal Insurance and Bond & Specialty Insurance at Travelers. “Teenagers talking about the importance of safe driving can have a meaningful and positive influence on their peers.”

Five student advisors created this year’s contest theme with the idea that teens should practice selfless driving, and be conscious of drivers as well as the environment around them. Teens must realize they should be aware of their surroundings when driving, and take others into consideration when making crucial driving decisions, the advisors commented when deciding on the theme.

Student advisors who worked on the project are Sophia Pelletier, Hannah Chua-Reyes, and Alexandra Porsczak from Mercy High School, as well as Abhishek Gupta from Xavier High School and Kayla Graham from Ethel Walker. These students volunteered their time, to create the theme and to discuss the use of social media to promote the contest.

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.  Travelers will also donate prizes and gifts to the students and high schools.

In addition, in a separate award, Weston High School won the DMV Teen Safe Driving Multicultural Award and will receive a $1,000 award for presenting the best multi-cultural messaging in a video submitted to the contest. Weston High School 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 finalist teams will receive certificates from Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the DMV Commissioner.

There were 89 student-team submissions that involved a total of nearly 300 students statewide representing 18 high schools. Videos of the winners and other finalists can be viewed on DMV's YouTube site at: 

Weston High School will receive $5,000 for first place, William H. Hall High School will receive $4,000 for second place, Daniel Hand High School will receive $3,000 for third place and $2,000 for fourth place, and Arts at the Capitol Theater will receive $1,000 for fifth.  Weston High School will receive an additional $1,000 from the multicultural award sponsor, Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital.

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 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.


Screening panels, including representatives from law enforcement, media, students and parents, narrowed the 89 submissions to Top- 10 finalists.  Afterwards a panel of judges representing highway safety advocates that included Attorney General George Jepsen, DMV Deputy Commissioner Michael Bzdyra, Travelers executives 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 – Julia Asphar (student director), Eli Hason and Cameron Okoro of Weston High School. (YouTube link:
Second Place - Jake Gershon (student director), Nicholas Doelger, Sean Farley, Adrienne La Forte and Michael Li of Hall High School in West Hartford. (YouTube link:
Third Place - Alara Nahar (student director), Kelley Levis, Julia Rumberger and Christopher Wilson of Daniel Hand High School in Madison.  (YouTube link:
Fourth Place - Andrew Esposito (student director), Conor Regan, Kyle Twohill and Samuel Walker of Daniel Hand High School in Madison. (YouTube link:
Fifth Place - Jonathan Winicki (student director), Caleb Burelle, Shannon Gorman and Dan Marinelli of Arts at the Capitol Theater in Willimantic.  (YouTube link:

Remaining Five (5) Finalists
•Arts at the Capitol Theater (Willimantic) - Isabel Butterick (student director), Hope Adams and Olivia Hence.  (YouTube link:
•Arts at the Capitol Theater (Willimantic) - Owen Collins (student director), Emily Fournier, Shannon Gorman, Evan Saunders and Jonathan Winicki.  (YouTube link:
•Daniel Hand High School (Madison) - Josie Anderson (student director), Adam Hendrick, Kuba Judak, Maggie Major and Sarah Stephens. (YouTube link:
•East Lyme High School - Uriya Simeon (student director) and Maddie Foerster.  (YouTube link:
•Hall High School (West Hartford) - Sam Fiske (student director), Peter Figgie, Trevon Graham and Paul Van Doren. (YouTube link:

DMV Teen Safe Driving Multicultural Award
•Winner - Weston High School - Julia Asphar (student director), Eli Hason and Cameron Okoro.  (YouTube link:
•Finalist - Danbury High School - Taylor Lemme (student director), Emily Barese, Mariza Lobo, Sophia Pompilio and Natalia Szurawski.  (YouTube link:
•Finalist – East Lyme High School - Uriya Simeon (student director) and Maddie Foerster.  (YouTube link:
•Finalist - Engineering and Science University Magnet (New Haven) - Deontae Merritt (student director). (YouTube link:
•Finalist - Arts at the Capitol Theater (Willimantic) - Shannon Gorman (student director), Elizabeth Halbert, Daniel Marinelli, Samantha Richard and Natalie Slover.  (YouTube link:

List of Entries in the DMV Teen Video Contest by School and Student Director

Arts at the Capitol Theater (Willimantic)
Owen Collins 
Oliver Henderson 
Shannon Gorman
Kayla Mejias 
Elizabeth Halbert 
Isabel Butterick 
Jonathan Winicki 
Sarah Smith

Avon High School
Gabriella Salonia

Branford High School
Michael McCarthy 
Romikkumar Patel 
Kaitlyn Kaczor

Conard High School (West Hartford)
Will Fowler
Taylor Davis

Danbury High School
Taylor Lemme

Daniel Hand High School (Madison)
Tyler Michaud 
Shea Galluzzi 
Alara Nahar 
Kyle Jasko
Sierra Tuckev
Andrew Esposito 
Josie Anderson 
Mark Hartmann 

Darien High School/Depot Youth Center (Darien)
Kallie Coughlin 
Marie Ostrand 
John McCann

East Lyme High School
Jack McDonald 
Danny Sitko 
Olivia Gellar 
Justin Graham 
Uriya Simeon

Engineering Science University Magnet School (New Haven)
Aeja Lopez
Justice Willoughby 
Sam Homes 
Alexcina Figueroa 
Deontae Merritt 
Tarik Bush 
Arianna McDaniels 
Tyrek Caesar 
Destiny Woods 
Tylon Ray-Williams 
Rayshaod Davis 
Daniel Janucik 
Camron Jenkins 
Marianna Barbosa 
Kheli Hunt 
Nina Filippone 
William Stark 
John Mensah 
Destiny Robinson 
Nylie Sauffian

Howell Cheney Technical High School (Manchester)
Kiara Franklin 
Kyle Islieb
Cameron Lovett 
Sierra Rosa 
Dylan Sharp 
Tristan Spence 

Josh Waddock 

New Canaan High School

Isabel Marshall

North Haven High School

Nick Nieves

Christopher Conte

Weston High School

James Willis

Julia Asphar

Miles Dominici

Petra Friden

William H. Hall High School (West Hartford)

Jason Buckman 

Patrick Cassidy 

Connor Blodgett 

Maggie Barnett 

Sam Fiske 

Charlie Monnes 

Jake Gershon 

Alexander Gombosh 

Matthew Meigs

Joe Marks 

Wilbur Cross High School? (New Haven)

Noel Mitchell

The Williams School (New London)

John Pereira 

Gauresh Walia 

Miles Schuman 

Hattie Grant 

Katerina Bourganos 

Shepherd Caruso 

Colin Kronholm 

Fehme Braish

Emily Ballard

Sarah Billis

Hannah Daitch   

Content Last Modified on 3/29/2016 5:11:51 PM