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Bob Jones students persuade judges in Create Real Impact contest

MADISON – Bob Jones High School writers tackled a life-and-death threat by entering the Create Real Impact national contest.

Eliminating distracted driving accidents is the goal of Create Real Impact. (CONTRIBUTED)
Eliminating distracted driving accidents is the goal of Create Real Impact. (CONTRIBUTED)

This contest encourages 14- to 22-year-olds to persuade people to avoid districted driving. Contestants entered music, art, video and writing submissions (createrealimpact.com).

Mary Butgereit, grand prize winner in art, received $1,500. Megan McDowell and Kaitlyn McGinnis earned $250 for honorable mentions.

Bob Jones received $1,500 as the school with the most entries. Brandy Panagos’ creative writing students participated.

Butgereit’s art depicted how math, English, science and social studies relate to distracted driving. “People underestimate the issue,” Butgereit said. “Going 40 mph, if you look away for three seconds to check your phone or whatever, you travel about 174 feet. That’s half a football field.”

“You’re in a two-ton metal contraption. People just don’t really see the danger and magnitude of this problem,” Butgereit said.

McDowell wrote a true story about a car accident caused by distracted driving that involved her father and 10-year-old sister. “I’d never been as emotional as I was that day, and it very much motivated my entry,” McDowell said.

When McDowell arrived at the wreck site, she first looked for Danielle. “I knew my dad was all right, but he hadn’t said anything about Dani — just that she had received most of the impact,” McDowell wrote.

“The sorrow that engulfed me, when I finally spotted her, was more than I had ever experienced before,” McDowell said. “Her hair was matted, her face cut up and burnt, and blood was dripping from her face onto her clothes … but she was alive. At least she was still breathing.”

McGinnis submitted a video, “Praying for Kaitlyn,” about the car accident that almost killed her. She overcame all the negative prognoses to be the 2013 Homecoming Queen at Bob Jones. McGinnis’ goal is public awareness about districted driving, which kills more teenagers than any other cause.

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