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Courageous Persuaders Gala Awards $28,000 in Scholarships To High School Students

Troy, MI, May 31, 2016 – The Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) hosted its annual Courageous Persuaders Awards Celebration on Wednesday, May 11 at the Emagine Theater in Royal Oak, MI, where $28,000 in scholarships and awards were granted to high school students. These brave students took a stand to raise awareness amongst their peers on the dangers of underage drinking, drinking and driving and texting while driving.

“The awareness raised through the creativity of the students participating in Courageous Persuaders has the power to save lives,” said Ryan LaFontaine, DADA President. “The DADA and our partners applaud these bright young minds for their efforts in taking a stand and helping to educate fellow friends and students on the catastrophic results that underage drinking as well as impaired and distracted driving can cause.”

Now in its 16th year, Courageous Persuaders is a competition where high school students create 30-second television commercials warning middle school students about the dangers of underage drinking, drinking and driving, and texting while driving. The contest drew 652 entries from 242 high schools, and has involved over 1,000 students from 43 states across the U.S. and from Canada.

The program has grown in scope and scholarships this past year with the support of the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office and the Harold & Carolyn Robinson Foundation. A new scholarship category of the dangers of texting while driving was added through the support of the Harold & Carolyn Robinson Foundation.

“With the longtime support from State Farm, they continue to be a valued partner and in total will be awarding $3,500 in scholarships,” said Rod Alberts, DADA Executive Director. “Their tremendous support goes beyond just scholarships, as they work closely with our team throughout the year to identify areas where we can collaborate to increase the scope and reach of the program. Having major national brands like State Farm behind Courageous Persuaders allows us to make a significant positive impact for years to come on the lives of children.”

Courageous Persuaders YouTube Channel

Student Scholarships and Award Winners

  • Grand Prize, $3,000 – “No One to Play With” by Brielle Catrinar and Anahat Sandhu, Plymouth High School, Canton, MI.
  • State Farm Fan Favorite Award, $2,500 (winning school) – Thurston High School, Redford, MI, and State Farm Fan Favorite Award, $1,000 (winning student) – “Think Before You Drink” by Aaron Hightower.
  • First Place, Courageous Persuaders Award, $2,000, Dangers of Underage Drinking – “Drinking Effects Everyone” by Jaden Alexander, Lenawee ISD TECH Center, Adrian, MI.
  • First Place, Courageous Persuaders Award, $2,000, Dangers of Texting While Driving – “Two Things At Once” by Emma Heidrich and Isabel Wallace, Eisenhower High School, Shelby Twp., MI.
  • AutoTrader Award, $2,000 – “Dance Away Alcohol” by Aidan Nguyen, Alex Zambrano, Aaron Blakeley and Jensen Jones, El Dorado High School, Placentia, CA.
  • Michelin Award, $2,000 – “Don’t Text and Drive” by Xavier Owens, Etowah High School, Woodstock, GA.
  • Adcraft Club of Detroit Award, $2,000: presented to the commercial that conveyed factual information about the dangers of alcohol use in the most persuasive and creative manner – “Good Friend” by Jonathan Hulst, Careerline Tech Center, Holland, MI.
  • Detroit Auto Dealers Assoc. Award, $2,000, Dangers of Underage Drinking – “See The Difference” by Kaimana Idica, Kamehameha Schools Maui, Makawao, HI.
  • Detroit Auto Dealers Assoc. Award, $2,000, Dangers of Texting While Driving – “Last Words” by Shea Dickens, Brianna Miller and Kellie Farren, Fenton High School, Fenton, MI.
  • Friends of Linsey Renee Cianciolo Memorial Fund, $1,500 – “It Won’t Be Me” by Becca Messner, Royal Oak High School, Royal Oak, MI.
  • Lindsey Renee Cianciolo Family Memorial Fund, $1,500 – “Don’t’ Throw Away Your Potential” by Michael Pappas and Josiah Rogers, Lake Orion High School, Lake Orion, MI.
  • Second Place, $1,000, Courageous Persuaders Award, Dangers of Underage Drinking – “Smashed” by Daisy Vandenberge and Kajsa Rye, Stephenson High School, Stephenson, MI.
  • Second Place, $1,000, Courageous Persuaders Award, Dangers of Texting While Driving – “Texting Can Kill” by Sky Boren, Lake Shore High School, St. Clair Shores, MI.
  • Michigan Film and Digital Media Office Award, $1,000 – “For The Sake Of A Life” by Nick Price and Chris Benchley, Grand Blanc High School, Grand Blanc, MI.
  • State Farm Award, $1,000: chosen based on the commercial’s effectiveness on the dangers and consequences of underage drinking and automobile usage – “Pajamas, Caleb Garrett and Kyle Reed, El Dorado High School, Placentia, CA.
  • Third Place, $500, Courageous Persuaders Award, Dangers of Underage Drinking – “I Wouldn’t” by Mariah Chartier, Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southwest, Wixom, MI.
  • Third Place, $500, Courageous Persuaders Award, Dangers of Texting While Driving – “Be The Influence” by Kristin Penrose, Lake Orion High School, Lake Orion, MI.
  • College for Creative Studies Award, $250 – “Put It Down” by Jarod Clark, Royal Oak High School, Royal Oak, MI.

Courageous Persuaders Winners Photo2 2016

In addition to the scholarship, the grand prize winning student receives the opportunity to participate in a professional editing session to make the video broadcast ready by Pluto Post Productions. The commercial will be broadcast on the Courageous Persuaders website, on television, and will be televised in select branches of the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office. For information, and to view the winning videos, go to www.CourageousPersuaders.com.

The Courageous Persuaders program was created in 2000 by the late Oakland County District Judge Michael A. Martone and John Barczyk, a local McCann-Erickson advertising executive (retired). In 2007, the DADA became the primary sponsor and administrator of the Courageous Persuaders program through its DADA Education Foundation.

About the DADA Education Foundation
dada education foundation logoThe mission of the DADA Education Foundation is to promote excellence in education through quality programs and leadership. In addition to the Courageous Persuaders program, the Foundation also administers Automotive Education Day at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), and the NAIAS Poster Contest.

About Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA)
Detroit Auto Dealers Association LogoThe DADA was founded in 1907 by 17 local car dealers, and has grown to over 200 member car and truck dealers who donate their time and resources to a host of community activities. Currently, the DADA members collectively employ more than 16,000 people.

Many members participate in the NAIAS, LLC, which is responsible for the production of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The most significant charitable venture of the DADA is the annual NAIAS Charity Preview, which has raised more than $106 million for children’s charities in southeastern Michigan since 1976, of which $41 million was raised in the last 10 years alone. To find out more about Detroit Auto Dealers Association, visit dada.org. To find out the latest about the North American International Auto Show, visit naias.com.

About SmartFinds Internet Marketing
smartfinds internet marketingSmartFinds Marketing is proud sponsor of Courageous Persuaders helping with digital marketing. SmartFinds is a 2009 Michigan 50 Companies To Watch awardee. The critical element of SmartFinds Internet Marketing solutions and services is the creativity and imagination to apply the technological aspects of the digital marketplace to the marketing objectives of a particular business. You can visit SmartFinds Internet Marketing at www.smartfindsmarketing.com.

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Media Contact:
Max Muncey, PR Manager, DADA
Email: mmuncey@dada.org
Phone: +1 (248) 283-5139
Cell: +1 (248) 763-6116