For immediate release
– Attorney General George Jepsen today congratulated 8th-grade student Megan Imperato, 13, of Western Middle School in Greenwich for her winning essay about distracted driving in the 20th annual Law Day essay competition sponsored by the Office of the Attorney General.
The competition was open to 8th-grade students and approximately 430 submitted essays on the topic: “Do we need new laws to stop distracted driving? Why or why not? If so, what sort of laws should we have.”
Ms. Imperato, a student of Ms. Michele Giorlando, concluded that public awareness and cultural change, not new laws, were more likely to curb the dangerous practice of “multitasking” while driving. “The fact that people are convinced that it is acceptable to defy the law, and put themselves and others at risk by doing so, is what needs to change rather than the law itself,” she wrote.
“In order to prevent the 330,000 injuries that occur due to distracted driving each year, we must change our cultural attitude,” she wrote. “Driving is dangerous and should be taken seriously. “
Hers was among the top five essays chosen by a panel of 12 judges, who also recognized five additional essays with an honorable mention. Attorney General Jepsen will present a certificate to the winner at a school assembly at a later date.
“I congratulate Megan, and all the students who submitted entries, for their work. I also want to thank all the teachers for developing their students’ skills and encouraging them to participate,” Attorney General Jepsen said. “Critical thinking and analytical writing are important for success in school and in the workplace. This contest gives students the opportunity to do both on an issue that has an impact on their lives.”
May is also Global Youth Traffic Safety Month. An advocate for safe teen driving, Attorney General Jepsen recently partnered with the Century Council to release a new public service announcement for the IKnowEverything program, www.IKnowEverything.com
, sending the message that parents are a strong influence on their teen drivers. The PSA will begin airing in Connecticut this month and can be viewed on the Attorney General’s YouTube page.
The other winners of the Law Day competition, their schools and teachers are: 2nd place, Riley Griffin, Cloonan Middle School, Stamford, Ms. Dana Mikstay; 3rd place, Emma Dahill, Saxe Middle School, New Canaan, Ms. Pamela Genuario; 4th place, Sarina Gersten, Broadview Middle School, Danbury, Mrs. Denise Meany; and 5th place, Samantha Weinreb, Cloonan Middle School, Stamford, Dr. Thomas Moulketis.
Students recognized with an honorable mention were: Sofia Esquibies, Corpus Christi School, Wethersfield, Mrs. Lisa Anderson; Ben Adams, also Corpus Christi School, Mrs. Lisa Anderson; Lauren Lewicki, HALS Academy, New Britain, Mrs. Janice Poole; Deanna East, St. Mark School, Stratford, Ms. Marian Rabel; Angelina LaMonica, also St. Mark School, Ms. Marian Rabel.
The judges were: Michael L. Anderson, Esq., Anderson Law Firm, P.C.; Mrs. Phyllis Carella; Nicholas D. Caruso, senior staff associate for field service, Connecticut Association of Boards of Education; Bette M. Daraskevich; Eileen P. Driscoll; Tom Hennick, public education officer, Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission; Archie Leslie; Don Maleto, Boys & Girls Clubs of Connecticut; Patricia Pac; Susan Tukey; John C. Turner, Jr., Maher & Murtha, LLC; and Emily Westerberg, executive secretary, Office of the Attorney General.
Administrative Assistant Susan Kmiec assisted the Attorney General with the competition.