Payson High School’s award-winning teen driving safety project has been honored twice more this year.
At a national competition in late March, Payson students were honored as national leaders for integrating academics into service learning for Project Ignition. The campaign alerts teens to the dangers of texting while driving and not wearing seat belts, among other things.
Students won $7,500 to continue the program and attend national conferences, as well as a trophy.
This year, officials want to change the program, decreasing the competition element and focusing more on service, said student government organizer Shelly Camp.
Consequently, schools like Payson received recognition despite not finishing in the top 10. Last year, the project did finish in the top 10.
This year, however, the project landed a spot as a top service-learning project in Arizona. Later this month, students will travel to Tucson to receive an award.
“We have a good group of kids who are really skilled,” said Camp.
Service learning integrates community service with academic standards.
Camp said she thinks including the entire school in projects has set them apart.
“We tried to integrate it not just in my classroom, but we reached out to other teachers,” she said.
Camp said the students impressed judges in San Jose with their direction-following abilities. For one presentation segment, students were instructed to avoid using technology.
“A couple of the schools showed up with Power Points,” Camps said. Students were initially dismayed and felt unprepared although they followed directions.
“Ms. Camp, the other schools have technology,” the students worried. Judges wanted to hear students answer questions about the project intelligently without relying on technology.
However, listening paid off. The judges thanked Payson students after the presentations for following the rules.
“The rules are there for a reason,” Camp said.