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Home » Blog » 2018 Texting and Driving Scholarship Winner – Tennessee

2018 Texting and Driving Scholarship Winner – Tennessee


2018 Texting and Driving Scholarship Winner - Tennessee

At Raybin & Weissman we are so proud of our 2018 Texting and Driving Video Scholarship winners, including Coal Dye, a high school senior from Grace Christian Academy, who won our statewide competition.

As winner for the state of Tennessee, Dye received a check in the amount of $1,000 at our scholarship ceremony, which was held at our offices on Church Street on April 25.

The Raybin & Weissman Texting and Driving Scholarship competition is open to high school juniors/seniors & college students, and calls for entrants to submit Public Service Announcements that highlight the dangers of texting and driving. To qualify, videos must be between 30 and 60 seconds long and uploaded to YouTube.

As always, choosing the winners was not an easy process, as we received numerous entries that were powerful, creative and touching.

Among those was Dye’s video, which he discussed in a recent phone interview.

“A lot of my friends are constantly texting and driving and it freaks me out,” he said, noting that he heard about the scholarship from his school’s guidance counselor and filmed the video on Natchez Trace Parkway.

“It scares me to be in the same car with someone who is texting and driving, or even if they are on their phone while driving,” he continued. “I’ve always loved making videos, so I thought it [the competition] would be a good way to put my skills to use and raise awareness about this issue. It’s really scary that almost every person you pass on the Interstate seems to be on their phone.”

Conceptually, Dye says he wanted communicate the idea that every individual is unique and important to the world—and that no one’s life should be placed in jeopardy because of something as insignificant as a text. Hence the tag line at the end of the video, which emphasizes that “it’s just a text” … and it can wait.

“It’s not worth putting yourself and others at risk,” Dye continued, who says all drivers should be careful not only for their own sake, but for the sake of their fellow motorists.

Notably, several of Dye’s friends and classmates have already been emotionally impacted by texting and driving.

“Within a span of four or five months [last year] there were seven to ten kids who passed away in different car wrecks, and some of those were caused by texting and driving,” he recalls, saying that “woke me up” to the risk that motorists face when on the road.

Aside from helping to raise awareness, Dye is thrilled about winning the scholarship because the combination of academic merit scholarship money and Raybin & Weissman scholarship money will enable him to attend Belmont University in the fall.

“I can’t believe I won the contest because Belmont is my dream school and I didn’t think I could afford to go there, but the fact that I’m able to is a big deal for me,” he says.

Raybin & Weissman’s 2019 Texting and Driving Scholarship Contest
Anyone interested in entering our 2019 texting and driving scholarship—which offers a $1,000 prize to each of three winners (local, regional and national) —can review the complete rules and requirements on our Scholarship page.

Our hope is that the scholarship contest—along with great videos like the one produced by Dye and fellow 2018 winners Jacob Fawcett and Blake O’Donnell —will help raise awareness and reduce the number of texting and driving accidents.

Sadly, Tennessee continues to be one of the worst states in the country for texting and driving. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were 24,781 distracted driving accidents in the state in 2017, and an additional 5,545 accidents in the first quarter of 2018.

Meta: At Raybin & Weissman we are so proud of our 2018 Texting and Driving Video Scholarship winners, each of whom received $1,000 for their Public Service Announcements illustrating the dangers of texting and driving.