The Coast News Group

Carlsbad High takes top prize

CARLSBAD — A safe driving campaign has netted Carlsbad High School a big payday.

The school won the grand prize of $100,000 and a free concert by Echosmith as part of State Farm Insurance’s Celebrate My Drive “Drive 2N2” program.

Carlsbad’s CHSTV submitted an application and 30-second video displaying the broadcast journalism class’ skills behind the camera.

A vigorous voting campaign in the final hours of the competition pushed CHS from outside the top 11 to the top spot.

CHS was the lone San Diego County high school and just three from Southern California to qualify for the finals. About 700 entries throughout the country were submitted.

Eleven schools won $100,000, but CHS stood out as the grand-prize winner.

“We are very excited to have won the grand prize,” said Doug Green, the broadcast journalism teacher and California Teacher of the Year. “We like to use what we think is the power of digital media, live broadcasts, short films and PSA’s to promote safe driving.”

The program’s focus is on safe driving, Green added, saying his class’ video centered on two hands on the wheel and two eyes on the road.

The video began with students introducing their daily news program, which is broadcast to 3,000 students every day, then turns to a driver along the Coast Highway with both hands on the wheel and is capped with 10 seconds of video from a previous driving project with the California Highway Patrol.

Now, the students and Green will turn their attention to creating public service announcements and other digital mediums to promote distraction-free driving.

Although the news is still fresh, Green said State Farm wants something other than the “doom and gloom” videos about teen driving. In addition, Green also wants to target parents.

The school must invest at least $22,000 toward the PSA’s and digital content as part of the contest from State Farm.

“We just motivated the community,” Green said. “We really used social media to our advantage.”

As for the rest of the prize money, Green plans for upgrades to software and hardware for the broadcast journalism program. Currently, the students operate software from nearly 15 years ago, while the computers and other equipment is just about as old.

“We are still figuring all that out,” Green said. “The dirty, dark secret is … we are running very old computers. We need to do an upgrade.”

The yearlong program, he added, will allow CHSTV to expand its reach to high schools across the country and possibly a national audience should State Farm post any videos.

Since the inception of the program last decade, Green said the contact made over the years will be a valuable asset in distribution.

“One of our ideas is to develop a portal … upload it and make it downloadable for all these broadcast programs across the country,” he added. “We could potentially reach tens of thousands of kids that way.”