Pictured left to right: Christine Lenick (owner), Kelly Powers (scholarship recipient), and Ben Baron (owner)
All of us at DriveSafe Driving Schools are excited to announce that we’ve selected the winner of our inaugural scholarship essay competition!
For over three decades, our Colorado driving school has been committed to helping students develop lifelong skills that will assist them in accomplishing their goals. One of our biggest areas of focus is helping students learn the art of safe decision-making, and the skills we teach can easily apply to the road as well as other important areas of life.
Being educators ourselves, we see the intrinsic value of higher education, which is why we created our very own DriveSafe Scholarship Program.
Offering $1500 for the winner to use toward education expenses, we asked students around the country to write a 500-650 word essay on the importance of safe decision-making and how it applies to driving as well as life in general. We received 427 submissions, and we were truly blown away by some of the insights these determined students showcased.
While there was no shortage of amazing essays, one writer in particular stood out.
We are proud to announce that Kelly Powers, a senior from Conifer High School, is the winner of our first scholarship competition! This talented student’s essay was perfectly in line with the prompt, and his unique perspective allowed him to create something engaging and thoughtful.
Kelly plans to attend school in Scotland in the fall and study business management. We are fully confident that he has a bright future ahead of him, and we are happy we get to play a role in helping him pursue his ambitions.
His excellent essay is printed below:
Winning DriveSafe Scholarship Essay by Kelly Powers
Bedlam. That’s what it was. We must’ve circumnavigated the roundabout in Rome about 10 times, before my mother shouted, “Now! Go!”, and my Dad went. Across 6 lanes of crazed Cinquecento and Vespa drivers, we shot towards, what we hoped, was our exit. My sister and I sat silently in the back seat. We crossed our fingers and closed our eyes.
That was 9 years ago. Obviously, we all survived to tell the tale. That scene, however, came to mind as I was pondering this essay. The timing my mother made on behalf of us all, and the split second actions my dad must've taken to get us across that chaos to safety, all amounted to decision making. Perhaps not all of the safest decisions ever but really, we might still be on that roundabout if they hadn't made a move.
Within my senior year, I feel like I’ve made more major decisions that ever before in my life. I spent months researching universities and degrees. Then, I researched the cities of the universities that I had selected.This brought me to researching costs of living, accomodation, scholarships and on and on. As I gathered more information, my options got narrower ( not unlike that exit in Rome!) until finally, I chose my path. Not such a terrible process, really.
Driving however, doesn’t afford us the luxury of leisurely decision making.The myriad of decisions that we have to make are mostly split second. Fortunately, most of it is rather automated and relaxed now that I've been driving for a few years. But that first time behind the wheel? I can still hear my mother’s voice, “check your mirrors, watch the cars ahead, check your speed, signal now, stop signalling already, slow down, speed up, check your mirrors, slow down!” Driving requires your full attention. It is a never-ending decision making process. Identify, evaluate the problem, evaluate alternatives, implement the decision. And once you've caught your breath, evaluate the decision! Holy cow! It's a wonder we don’t still use horses!
As I considered the prompt of this essay, I recognised that knowledge is key with making safe driving decisions. We’re taught the way things should and should not be done. We practice for hour upon hour.Then, we are tested on our knowledge and how we make those decisions in practice. Failure to make correct decisions in driving can be catastrophic. Even fatal.
There are influences that guide us in our driving decisions in addition to knowledge. Our own self interests have us abiding by the laws to avoid harming ourselves or others:driving within the speed limits. Priorities help us to make the right decisions based on importance: passing safely. Our values, instilled from childhood, guide us in acknowledging care and safety of other drivers and those are non-negotiable:give other drivers notice of your intentions by timely signalling. And always practice patience.
Within other decisions in life, we may not be risking our’s or others’ lives but when it comes to those major decisions, it is important to glean some knowledge before you make the leap. Once you set off on the path you’ve chosen, it might be a long road before you can find a suitable exit. That's not to say that it won’t always be beneficial. I do believe that the journey is more valuable that simply getting to the initial destination. But, when we can take the time to give due regard to the possibilities ahead, why not? Why risk an unsafe maneuver when you can arm yourself with knowledge?