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ES-M students win $15K with texting while driving video

Bobby Ali, Chris Steinberger and Matt Pede were told this morning that their texting and driving video won $15,000 for the school district. They're presented with the check by NYCM Insurance President Dan Robinson.

Bobby Ali, Chris Steinberger and Matt Pede were told this morning that their texting and driving video won $15,000 for the school district. They're presented with the check by NYCM Insurance President Dan Robinson. Photo by Amanda Seef.

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Bobby Ali, a senior, teacher Michael Ferris, Chris Steinberger, Matt Pede and President of NYCM Insurance, Dan Robinson, hold the large check presented to the district Friday morning.

— The TV studios at East Syracuse-Minoa High School will be getting a facelift, thanks to the video work of students Chris Steinberger and Matt Pede.

The students created a video for NYCM Insurance's texting while driving campaign. It was announced Friday morning that the video had earned top prize in the state, a $15,000 prize that will be given to the district.

"I'm ecstatic at the moment and I'm probably going to be smiling all day," said Steinberger, a senior.

He and Pede created the video as part of an independent study. It features Pede as the driver who is pulled over by a Manlius Police Officer for erratic driving. When the police officer asks him to recite the alphabet, he begins with “QWERTY,” the first six letters on a typical keyboard. The video shows Pede arguing with a friend over how many texts he had sent, similar to the stereotypical slurred conversation about how many drinks a driver may have had.

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Bobby Ali, who appeared in the video created by Matt Pede and Chris Steingberger, talks with the anchor of the morning announcement TV show Friday morning.

“Shhh... I drive better when I’m texting,” Pede says in the thirty-second clip. The video ends with Pede being charged with texting while driving.

"It's a very positive message that they're sending," said Manlius Police Officer Kerry Wolongevicz. "They're standing up for their safety and sending a message, too, that they should follow their example."

Parents, fellow students, school officials and local dignitaries piled into the high school's TV studio Friday morning for the announcement, which was broadcast on the morning announcement show.

"I think it's awesome," said Doreen Steinberger, Chris's mother. "They brought it to a kids' level. Hopefully they'll listen, watch and hopefully learn from it."

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Texting and Driving PSA

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