TxDOT surprises local students with $1,500 award for winning PSA

Nederland students win TxDOT PSA contest

Texas Department of Transportation representatives surprised five Nederland High School students with a $1,500 check benefiting Operation Graduation for winning first place in a contest that challenged participants to make the best public service announcement (PSA).

TxDOT invited all high schools in Jefferson, Orange, Hardin, Tyler, Jasper, Newton, Chambers and Liberty Counties to participate in the PSA competition benefiting each school’s Operation Graduation celebration. The schools were asked to put together a 60-second video PSA on topics like drinking and driving, texting and driving and distracted driving. Nederland High School won first place. Hull-Daisetta High School placed second, Lumberton High School placed third and West Hardin High School got fourth place in the competition.

TxDOT spokesperson Sarah Dupre presented Xavier Reyes, Frannelly Martinez, Caleb Pickering, Daryl Gray and Tavion Banks with an oversized check at an event at Nederland High School on May 15. The five students produced the PSA, and Reyes, Martinez and Pickering also provided the music and lyrics.

The video features the student creators riding in a vehicle surrounded by potential distractions and urges watchers not to fall prey to those pitfalls while driving.

“It’s not cool to drink and drive, it’s not cool to text and drive, I’m just trying to stay alive, It’s not alright to flow wit’ dat.,” the young men intone.

According to TxDOT’s Dupre, the students had no idea they would be receiving the award and check Monday.

“They had a senior meeting, and we surprised them at the beginning,” said Dupre.