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Toronto high school wins safe drive contest

More than 400 “Celebrate My Drive” events took place in more than a dozen communities.

Published October 19, 2012

Toronto’s Riverdale Collegiate Institute has been awarded $100,000 as the Canadian winner of the “Celebrate My Drive” contest sponsored by State Farm Insurance.

Kenn Harvey, the school’s principal, credits student council members for their achievement.

“The student council did most of the work to get this done and by working with them we’re going to decide how the money is to be used,” said Harvey.

“They are keen on making sure that there is a long-term legacy this money can create and that there is as much benefit to as many students as possible with a connection to the community, just as in a family,” he added.

On Sept. 15, high school officials, safety advocates, local law enforcement, and government leaders in Canada and across the U.S. joined more than 1,400 State Farm agents and tens of thousands of teens and their parents for a celebration of this year’s class of new teen drivers.

The initiative encourages safe driving habits in novice motorists through positive means, rather than battering them with scary statistics of teenage road carnage.

More than 400 “Celebrate My Drive” events took place in more than a dozen communities — making it North America’s largest-ever simultaneous gathering of new teen drivers.

As part of this program, State Farm awarded 14 participating schools each a grant of $100,000. The winning schools were chosen based on an online voting process that took place during the six days leading up to the event, held locally at Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke.

Harvey said a committee will be formed over the next few days to hear proposals from students, staff and Riverdale community members on how the $100,000 grant will be spent.

Grand prize winner Dayana Narayanan, 16, of Mississauga, was one of 14 students in North America to score a brand new 2013 Chevrolet Sonic in State Farm’s “Celebrate my Ride” program.

“We are thankful to these schools and everyone who came together in September to help rally communities around new drivers,” said Ed Rust Jr., State Farm Chairman and CEO. “Getting my licence was a special day for me, and I know young adults today feel the same. Sharing these positive experiences and keeping them safe as they explore the road ahead helps to build stronger communities.”

Schools will use the State Farm grants to fund key safety or other essential projects.

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