North Carolina High School Athletic Association

Winners Announced for North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program Click it or Ticket Scholar-Athlete Essay Contest

CHAPEL HILL—Sophie Sun of Raleigh Charter High School and Jacob Rapp of Southeast Guilford High School won top honors in the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program Click it or Ticket Scholar-Athlete essay contest. The Fall 2018 semester’s prompt was: Explain why, as a scholar athlete, you feel that some teens do not wear their seat belts and what you would do to encourage them to buckle up. There were over 125 applications for the scholar-athlete essay competition. Winners were chosen blindly by a panel of judges from the North Carolina Department of Transportation and NCHSAA with criteria that included originality, content, organization and grammar.  

Sun is a sophomore volleyball student-athlete at Raleigh Charter High School. In her essay she described how poor habits learned when teenagers are young, excuses and peer pressure all play a role in teenagers not wearing their seat belts. Sun believes using social media can encourage teenagers to buckle up. Sun concluded her essay by stating, “The only solution to fighting off peer pressure is with the very thing that is causing it.  Parents and driving instructors can play a role by emphasizing their rules when it comes to seat belts, but it is ultimately social media that will change the idea of buckling up.”  

Jacob Rapp is a senior at Southeast Guilford High School and participates in Lacrosse and Football.  Rapp related the muscle memory used while playing Lacrosse and Football to the habit of putting on a seat belt every time you are in a car. “During the first couple of years of driving we need to remind teens about wearing their seat belt until it becomes muscle memory…We don’t need to just encourage teens to buckle up, we need to develop their muscle memory.” 

The scholar-athlete essay competition female runner-up was Olivia Lenderman, a senior Soccer and Basketball student-athlete at Asheville High School. The male runner-up for the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program scholar-athlete essay competition was senior Football and Track & Field student-athlete, Jaret Jystad from North Henderson High School.  
The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program Click it or Ticket Scholar-Athlete program is one of the Association’s most popular voluntary programs and recognizes excellence in the classroom as well as on the playing court or field. As part of the program, the Click it or Ticket program and NCHSAA offers the essay contest annually, with student-athletes submitting a 400-word essay each semester. 

“We are honored to have received such impactful and thoughtful responses from the students,” said Mark Ezzell, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Keeping the youth involved and engaged in the conversation around seal belt usage is key to reducing crashes and injuries. We are excited to see how these young minds continue to shape our community and champion the Click It or Ticket message, and all traffic safety messages.”

Congratulations to the winners of the NC 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 and look for more initiatives with the Governor’s Highway Safety Program throughout the year!