Dr. Abraham P. Cano Freshman Academy’s Raven Club was crowned the national champions in the Teens in the Driver Seat Driving the Message Contest sponsored by State Farm and AAA.
On Friday, May 5, 2017, they were presented the first-place prize of $2,000 in recognition for their efforts to increase awareness about the risks teens face behind the wheel or as young passengers.
“It feels good to be receiving the 1st place award in the Driving the Message Contest,” said School Resource Officer Robert Curry. “We have 22 active members in our club this year, and they’re so dedicated to being part of the community and hosting events. The students have put so much hard work and extra time. This recognition makes it all worthwhile.”
The Raven Club works closely with the Raven Crime Stoppers and gives students the opportunity to become a standout members of the Cano community by focusing on their leadership skills, teamwork, and dedication.
“Participating in the Driving the Message Contest was a great experience for all of us to really understand the dangers of what could happen if you text and drive,” said Raven Club President Natalie Perez. “I am grateful for organizations like Teens in the Driver Seat because I think, as teenagers, it’s important to understand the importance of safety behind the wheel and how seat belts can really make a difference.”
With the help of Harlingen CISD’s KHGN class, the group created a public service announcement titled, “Phone Smash,” which addressed the dangers of texting. Producers for this project include Raven Club members, Luis Hernandez, Ruth Camacho, Mya Aguirre, Jose Gutierrez, Jonathan Cantu, and Natalie Perez.
On hand for the recognition were Shannon Barkwell, a research specialist for Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Tito Resendiz from State Farm, Ruby Martinez, traffic specialist for the Texas Department of Transportation, and members of the Harlingen Police Department.
“Today, I get to recognize you [Raven Club] all for the amazing work that you have done,” said Barkwell. “Thank you so much for allowing Teens in the Driver Seat to make a difference on your campus. This freshman class will take the traffic safety message to the next school they attend. We have worked hard to try to get a school in the Rio Grande Valley to take Teens in the Driver Seat to the national level, and Cano Freshman Academy has achieved the highest level possible to promote teen driving safety amongst your peers, community, and amongst your friends.”
Raven Club members – Mya Aguirre, Kenya Rodriguez, Lezlee Barajas, Janelle Arnold, and Jose Gutierrez – were selected for the 2017-2018 Teen Advisory Board. As part of the Board, students will participate in quarterly meetings, serve as ambassadors for Teens in the Driver Seat, and organize program-oriented events and activities in the local community.
Additionally, Officer Curry received the 2016-2017 SponStar Award in recognition of his work with the TDS program.
Officer Curry and the Raven Club will be recognized for their individual achievements and will be receiving the Teens in the Driver Seat Cup at this year’s 2017 TDS Summit to be held on May 20-22, in San Antonio, Texas.
The Raven Club invites the community to attend a Click It or Ticket event on Friday, May 12, 2017, where they will be sharing their message about teen traffic safety. The event will take place at the Texas Travel Information Center in Harlingen and will begin at 10:00 a.m.
Click here for more photos of the check presentation.