North Carolina High School Athletic Association

Click it or Ticket Scholar Athlete Essay Contest Winners Announced

CHAPEL HILL— Terra Murphy of North Iredell High School and Casen Whitehead of Holly Springs High School won top honors in the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program Click it or Ticket Scholar-Athlete essay contest.

The Fall 2020 semester’s prompt was:

How has the shut-down impacted how teen drivers think about roadway safety? What messages can you share with other young drivers and how can you impress upon them the importance of defensive driving?

Winners were chosen by a panel of judges from the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program and NCHSAA with criteria that included originality, content, organization, and grammar.

The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program was captivated with all the essay responses it received.

“Creating safe, road-conscious drivers is a complex task that begins with educating young minds like these and working with them to spread safety messaging amongst their peers,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.

“We are glad these young people are thinking about safe driving long before they become seasoned drivers whose poor decisions behind the wheel have dire consequences for us all. These essays are a step in the right direction of raising better drivers for a better future for North Carolina,” said Ezzell.

Terra Murphy is a junior at the Agriculture and Science Early College of Iredell Statesville Schools where she participates in athletics at North Iredell High School.  Murphy is a member of the Raiders’ Cheerleading and Softball teams. Her essay focused on the roadblocks students have faced in 2020; in school, athletics, and learning how to drive. One of these roadblocks is the number of untested new drivers on the road as North Carolina waived the road test due to the pandemic.

To overcome this roadblock, Murphy’s message to her peers is,

“Be extra careful when driving.  It’s generic but holds an abundance of truth. When you’re on the road, you not only have to be conscious of yourself but also everyone around you.  If you normally check both ways twice, check three times.”

Casen Whitehead is a senior at Holly Springs High School. He is a member of the Cross Country and Track & Field teams for the Hawks.

Whitehead notes the importance of students being aware of their driving abilities and not being afraid to let adults know when they need more driving practice before obtaining their license. 

“Some students may take longer to feel comfortable behind the wheel and that is okay because everyone is different and ultimately it will keep everyone safe.”

Whitehead noted the importance of defensive driving, 

“Identifying traffic lights, street signs and surrounding cars adds more guidelines to driving.  To keep every driver safe, you have to be aware of all of your surroundings.”

The scholar-athlete essay competition female runner-up was Bailey Reutinger, a senior student-athlete on the West Forsyth High School Cross Country and Track & Field teams. The male runner-up was Gavin Gallimore, a senior on Central Davidson High School‘s Cross Country and Track & Field teams.

Congratulations to the winners of the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program Click It or Ticket and North Carolina High School Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete Essay Competition. Learn more about the scholar-athlete program here.