Cookeville High School submission of "Be In The Zone"

Date of Completion: 
Monday, September 14, 2015 - 00:30
Activity Completed: 
Your School: 
Cookeville High School
Planned and Implemented a year long campaign with the Be In The Zone Put Down Your Phone Slogan. We selected a team of five leaders to spearhead this campaign. We trained with the BITZ leaders then immediately returned home to brainstorm ideas. We were given handbooks with the rules for the BITZ program. Basically we were to conduct three cell phone checks; invite one of the programs special speakers in to talk with our club; write and film a public service announcement; and conduct five other activities. Even though we constantly were holding activities at our school to focus on safe driving and the dangers of distracted driving, we wanted to think bigger and better. We pushed ourselves beyond our own comfort zone as a club and came up with some new activities to get our school and community fired up about the BITZ campaign. After our first cell phone check, we rolled right into National Teen Driver Safety Week, which is always in the month of October. We worked hard over fall break and planned the week’s activities. This week was personal to me because I was in charge of the week’s activities with one of our presidents, Emily. We wanted to have a fun filled, educational week. On Monday we offered impaired corn hole in the commons during lunch. Our school has a one hour lunch period so we set up tables and two four sets of corn hole games and used our impaired goggles to show our peers how hard it is to play a simple game while being impaired. It really made them think about the dangers of driving while impaired. We even had our administrators participating with us. On Tuesday we partnered with the Teens and Trucks program and Chief Happiness Officer, Mandee Johnson. We were the first school in the state of Tennessee to be able to use the brand new THP simulators. We had special speakers with us on this day and then our club was able to go outside and experience the simulators. Averitt Express Trucking also brought a tractor-trailer and spoke to us about the No Zone. We also participated in a video that was taped that day for the Tennessee Trucking Foundation. They videotaped our day’s events and then interviewed several of our officers for their promotional video. On Wednesday & Thursday we set tables back up in the commons during lunch and had seatbelt relays. We also had pledge sheets set up and challenged all students, faculty, staff and administration to take the pledge to not text or use their phone while driving. We had the Crash Dummies and Ollie the Otter on hand for the week’s events. We also set up a safe driving trivia game where the kids could play to win free tickets to a football game. Friday was a very sobering day for us. We celebrated Awareness Day on this day. We had twelve club members who were pulled from class. They were given a black t-shirt to wear and we put white makeup lightly on their faces. They returned to class with name tags on that explained how they died in traffic crashes that day. They represented the teens who were killed in traffic accidents. They were not allowed to speak for the remainder of the day. At the end of the day, we put our tombstones that we had painted with our names along with birth and death dates. We placed flowers in front of our tombstones and lined the exit of our school. We rounded out our week’s activities with a community event. We rented outdoor movie equipment and paid the licensing fees to show the movie Monsters, Inc. to the public. It was one week before Halloween so we felt the movie would be a good option. Before the movie, we invited Kerrie Hunt and Tammie Pharris, our local Allstate agents to come in and speak to the crowd. They talked about the dangers of driving distracted and then we played trivia. We handed our BITZ t-shirts, cups and backpacks as prizes. We had a small concession stand set up. The community loved the event. Many of them told us that they hoped we continued it yearly. By the way, we designed fliers to promote the event and sent one home to all 10,000 plus students in Putnam County Schools. We also went to our local radio stations to promote the Movie Night and our Be In The Zone campaign. We decided that instead of investing the wheel each time and trying to draw crowds into our events, that we would tag team with events already lines up at our school. We chose key football and basketball games and set up booths to tailgate and take our BITZ message there. We wrote public service announcements for the ballgame announcers to read frequently over the PA during the games. These included stats about safe driving and always ended with our tag line, “The CHS TEST Club invites you to remember to Be in The Zone, Put Down Your Phone.” We sat up corn hole games and gave out free candy as well as food at the Halloween Football Game. We partnered with one of our school adopters who helped us provide chips and salsa, hamburgers and hotdogs at our tailgating. We took our message to the stands during the breaks in the game. We also set up tables at basketball games and threw out BITZ shirts into the crowd, not only to Cookeville fans, but fans on the visitor side. We also handed out free cups with the BITZ logo on them, pens and backpacks. We also encouraged small children to visit our booth to meet a policeman to help them know that policemen are our friends. The first Thursday night in December, the CHS BITZ team and club members set up a safe driving booth at our local Chickfila Restaurant to remind all those eating there on that night to Be In The Zone. We targeted this date to reach maximum coverage as Cookeville hosted the TSSAA football playoffs on this night. We handed out more free BITZ merchandise as well as GDL (Graduated Driver’s License) cards. We were able to spend quality time speaking with students of private schools such as Ensworth and shared our message on how driving distracted kills. We encouraged theme to share our message when they returned to school. We also shared the message with all customers who entered Chickfila that night for supper and took personal time that night to invite Tim McGraw to our BITZ safe driving rally that we had scheduled for April. He promised to try to attend. We had police officer and emergency workers at the TSSAA playoff game directing fans to stop in to Chickfila when they left the game. We were also able to hand our fliers at the Tennessee Tech Concession stand in partnership with the PE dept. there. On different days throughout the year, members of our club went out to the sidewalks at school and chalked safe driving messages so our peers could see them as they exited and entered school each day. Some messages read, “You know you want to turn off your phone while driving.” “Distracted Driving Kills.” “Your mom wants you to make it home alive today. So DNT TXT N DRV. For our students, it was the last message that they had in their heads as they climbed behind the wheel to drive home. We invited the fine arts dept. of our school to partner with us as we chalked up the sidewalks. The BITZ team worked hard to brainstorm ideas for our PSA. Our goal was to keep it short and sweet and our graphic designer had the vision to record it all in black and white. We invited members of nearly every organization of our school to represent their team, organization or class in the PSA. We planned and mapped out our idea and then we field tripped all these students for one block. As many of you know, we were hammered hard on the Cumberland Plateau with snow, and so we were out of school on the day we had planned to tape. We had to work very hard to reschedule and post the make up date on all social media sites and text many of the people who were participating with us including the principal and assistant principals at CHS and Allstate Agents. Each group came up with a different chant or cheer but in the end, the BITZ student leadership team decided to go a more somber route and toned the PSA down. One of our favorite groups that we videoed was our preschool kids who encouraged people to Be in The Zone – They all said – FOR OUR FUTURE. It was adorable. We had members of our club who were in the media class video our psa and take pictures and then our BITZ team edited the PSA. It was a true labor of love. In January we welcomed Doug and Pat Ralls to come and speak before our entire club during a lunch time club meeting. Doug and Pat shared their personal tragedy of losing a son to a distracted driver on Interstate 40. You could have heard a pin drop in the lecture hall when they spoke to our kids. There were several students who teared up. They also shared their Facebook page with us, Stop Phoning and Driving in Memory of Brian. Their message was one that would break your heart and put the fear of knowing that if you choose to use your phone while driving, something catastrophic could happen to you. Something new we tried for the BITZ campaign was to partner with the special education students/classes at Cookeville High School in February to deliver sweetheart messages for Valentine’s Day. We worked as peer buddies with the Special Education dept. and designed Valentine arrows from large pixie sticks and then decorated them to look like Valentine’s. Students could then stop by a table during lunch and purchase a Valentine to be delivered to a special friend or sweetheart at our school. We purchased the supplies for the projects and let the special education students keep all the proceeds to help offset the cost of going to the special Olympics. On the back of the message card we placed stickers that read, “Be A Sweetheart – Be in the Zone, Put Down Your Phone. – CHS TEST Club. We then assisted the special ed students by looking up where students were on this day and we helped them deliver the Valentine’s to the students in their classes. It was very fulfilling knowing we helped the special education department while getting out our safe driving message. We were also able to share our message with those sped students about buckling up and paying attention so they could share it with their parents. In March we decided to take our message away from school and into the community again. We set up a booth with a tent and corn hole games in our local park in the middle of town, Dogwood Park. We planned a day’s events focusing on our theme. We recorded PSA’s on local radio stations and invited the Country Giant to be with us at the park to broadcast live. We offered face painting, tattoos, pledge sheets and corn hole free of charge to the public. People stopped in with their pets to check out our booth. Since our biggest event was yet to come, we chose to hand out fliers for our BITZ safe driving rally on this date. Even though it was a little cold, we all had a good time in the park. We were chosen as the grand prize winners of the campaign and awarded a trophy and $10,000.