CHERAW - Camella Scott of Cheraw was one of the 15 high school seniors that were awarded $2,500.00 scholarships towards their college education through the eighth annual Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program. Scott will be attending the College of Charleston in the fall.
For the 2009-10 academic year, the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, L.L.P. expanded and increased its annual scholarship program to include fifteen graduating seniors in 23 of the counties that their offices serve. South Carolina counties included York, Lancaster, Chesterfield, Marlboro and Dillon. North Carolina counties included Mecklenburg, Gaston, Catawba, Union, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Lincoln, Rowan, Caldwell, Stanly, Iredell, Alexander, Burke, Robeson, Scotland, Richmond, Anson and Cumberland. Since 2003 our firm has awarded more than $162,000.00 (One Hundred and Sixty-Two Thousand Dollars) in scholarships to 67 high school seniors in North and South Carolina.
This year, the firm’s scholarship committee selected students based on their school and community involvement, grades, SAT scores and a presentation (video, PowerPoint, brochure, website or speech) that encouraged fellow teens to abstain from underage drinking and driving and highlighted the dangers of drinking and driving.
For the past seven years, the winners were chosen based on the aforementioned criteria and their response to an essay question that presented a solution or suggestion(s) to prevent underage drinking and driving, the consequences we see frequently in our office.
This year, in an effort to allow the graduating class of 2010 to utilize current technology and express themselves in multiple genres, we modified the criteria for submission. The 2010 scholarship winners were allowed to create presentations on solutions and ideas for the education and prevention of underage drinking and driving though a variety of mediums. As such, the 15 winning presentations were comprised of seven PowerPoint presentations, three public service announcements; two web dedicated sites, two speeches and one brochure. Our firm was very impressed with the presentations we received from so many creative and intelligent young people. It was very obvious that the students clearly understand the potentially devastating consequences of drinking and driving and wanted to try alternative approaches to reach their classmates.
Statistics and studies show that alcohol used by young people is extremely dangerous, not only because of the risks associated with acute impairment and the obvious health risks, but also because of the threat to their long-term physical and mental development. Traffic collisions are a constant reminder of these dangers, with alcohol being a determining factor in nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities and injuries involving teenagers.
At our firm, we deal with the accidents of all types and frequently see the results, which include deaths and serious injuries on practically a daily basis. The scholarship program, in conjunction with our “Arrive Alive! Don’t Drink and Drive” program, is part of our efforts to help reduce tragedies related to underage drinking and driving. “Arrive Alive” is an outreach program targeted and presented to area high school juniors and seniors during the spring, when opportunities for underage drinking and driving are more likely to occur.
Unfortunately, drunk drivers cause more than twenty percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States, and while alcohol and driving often result in multiple injuries and death, when the inexperience of a young driver is part of the equation, the outcome is usually more serious and often deadly. Moreover, alcohol used by young adults causes more than serious and fatal accidents; it is also associated with violence, suicide, unwanted pregnancies and educational failure. The social cost of underage drinking has been estimated by the federal government at $19 billion a year from traffic collisions alone.
You may ask, why should I be concerned? Quite simple, this problem affects everyone in our society who uses our roads and highways every single day. Young adults have a unique view regarding these issues and our scholarship program attempts to capture these ideas and suggestions, because as we all know, young adults respond best to advice from their own peers. It is our hope and objective to get the “message” out to as many teens as we can “touch” in our community because even if the scholarships and our prevention programs only save one life, the investment will have been worth the effort.