TMA Bucks announced that New Hope-Solebury High School is the overall winner of the 15th annual Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge.
New Hope-Solebury student drivers had the highest overall seatbelt use (97 percent) over 19 other Bucks County high schools that participated in the challenge. Truman High School achieved the greatest percentage increase in seatbelt use over all schools at five percent (77 percent in fall to 82 percent in spring).
New Hope-Solebury, which was also the overall winner in 2010-11, 2015-16 and 2018-19, was presented with a $500 cash grant and perpetual trophy plaque at a pre-prom assembly. The cash prize is donated by TMA Bucks and is encouraged to be used by the school for safety-related purposes.
“After not being able to hold follow-up surveys the last two school years because of the pandemic, it is great to see that all schools that participated showed an increase in seatbelt usage from fall to spring,” said TMA Bucks executive director Stephen Noll. “We continued to work with these great schools, teachers and students on the education component even though we couldn’t hold the contest portion the last few years and it shows the message is getting through that seatbelts save lives.”
The school group that promoted the Seatbelt Challenge throughout the entire school year were student government leaders Talia Flavin, Mia Chuma, Abby Prosser, Anna D’Agostino, Ciara Maguire, Gavin Young, Thalia Graeff and Emma Ives. These students were under the direction of teacher Jon Gonsiewski and passed out “LifeSavers” mints to all drivers with seatbelts on during dismissal to promote buckling up.
Teacher Drew Giorgi’s video production students Leo Cronise-Mead and Sean Cooney also helped promote the challenge by creating a video for the Teen Driver Safety Video PSA Challenge portion of the competition and screening it for all students.
“I am grateful to TMA Bucks for including our school in the Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge,” said New Hope-Solebury High School principal Patrick Sasse. “It’s a great feeling knowing that our student drivers take safety seriously and that our students earned this recognition through their positive choice to buckle up. Thank you and congratulations to the New Hope-Solebury student drivers and our dedicated student government leadership.”
Truman will receive a cash grant and plaque as well for its accomplishment.
In fall 2021, baseline surveys on seatbelt usage by student drivers were conducted at high schools throughout the county without the knowledge of the student body or administration in order to ensure the most accurate data sampling. All schools were then challenged to raise seatbelt usage and participate in the Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge.
Various student groups at each participating school promoted the challenge to all students throughout the year in a variety of creative ways. Follow-up surveys took place unannounced in April and May and the winning schools were decided.