Bailey Cornell, a senior at Haddam-Killingworth High School, has been chosen as one of the ten winners of the Carter Mario Injury Lawyers' Arrive Alive Scholarship. Bailey produced a video on Cell Phone Distracted Driving, defined as when motorists use a cell phone to call or text while behind the wheel. Carter Mario Injury Lawyers received over 350 submissions from graduating high school seniors statewide.
Each applicant was asked to prepare a presentation on the dangers of distracted driving and using their cell phone while behind the wheel, which was judged by Carter Mario and his staff. Scholarship applicants could submit an essay, a video or graphic presentation, and submissions were based on the following fictional scenario: "Prepare a presentation to your graduating class on the dangers of distracted driving that will make them not want to get behind the wheel with a cell phone."
The statewide firm awards $1,000 a piece to ten high school seniors in Connecticut attending a four-year college or university in the fall.
Bailey's video, titled "Lessons Learned", was filmed in Killingworth and starred herself, her mother Susan Cornell, and long-time friend Caitlin Lehane. The three decided to use one of the many snow days this winter productively and began filming. Footage was taken in the cemetery on Roast Meat Hill Road.
A committee of ten, made up of attorneys and management, reviewed submissions over the past few weeks.
"With over 350 applications to review, it was an extremely difficult process to select just ten," said Carter Mario Marketing Director Cindy Mario.
"We were looking for presentations that we felt would have the most impact on your audience of peers. We also took into account what you have done in your high school career to further yourself and your community," Mario explained to the scholarship winners.
Including shooting the footage and editing, the project took an estimated six hours to produce.
"Of course it was worth my while; I got a scholarship out of it, and it was a fun thing to do on a snow day," Bailey said of the experience.
She feels that "probably all" of her friends text and drive.
"Hopefully, my video will make a big impact on teens so that they see from another teen that texting and driving isn't a good idea. You can actually get hurt, your friends can get hurt and die, your family members can get hurt and die, and you can get in a lot of trouble," she said.
A banquet at the Carter Mario offices will be held in early May, at which time the winners will be awarded a $1,000 check made out to the college they will be attending.
Bailey is heading to Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island in the fall.