Home » Millbrook student wins award for distracted drivers video

Millbrook student wins award for distracted drivers video

MILLBROOK — Distracted driving affects everyone on the road. In 2009 alone 5,500 people died and 450,000 others were injured in accidents related to distracted driving in the United States, according to a video created and narrated by Caleb Natale, 16, who made the video with help from his brothers, Austin, 14, and Michael, 17. When Caleb made the video on distracted driving for the New York State Central Mutual Insurance (NYCM) Distracted Driving Video Contest he entered it for the learning experience. He did not expect the video would win him $10,000 for Millbrook High School, where he is a sophomore. Caleb found out about the contest from Millbrook High School graphic design and computer teacher John Blakely. “My computer teacher from last year, Mr. Blakely, told me about the contest,” he said. “I believe he told me in late September. You had to make a video in 25 seconds showing in a creative way the dangers of distracted driving and also telling people statistics about it in 25 seconds of time.”The content of the video Caleb and his brothers made is simple, but the message is powerful.“In the video the lights went on and there was this one single dim light focused on a chalk board, and on the chalk board it says the word distracted all over the place,” Caleb said. “Basically my brother comes over with the sponge and wipes it away. Then he writes the words ‘don’t drive distracted,’ but you can’t tell what he’s writing till the very end of the video. The whole time my voice is narrating the entire thing, giving statistics and telling people why they shouldn’t drive distracted.”Caleb said he entered the contest because it would be a good experience in making videos. He didn’t expect to win. It was announced on Feb. 1 that he was one of the top three finalists. The contest was open to public schools throughout New York state; NYCM received 159 videos from 68 public schools in the state. On March 19 NYCM came to Millbrook High School to reveal that Caleb’s video had been awarded second place and $10,000 was awarded to the school. First place was awarded along with $15,000 to East Syracuse Minoa Central High School and third awarded $5,000 to Canandaigua Academy. Although Millbrook High School received the cash, Caleb was able to decide how the money should be spent.“We actually already bought the stuff for the school,” Caleb said. “We got different stuff for the computer lab to help improve it. We got a new camera for better video for the lab because the one they had wasn’t too good; I used my own for the video. We also got different software for the computer to help Mr. Blakely teach and we got different software for video editing.”Caleb said he wants to go to film school in the future. He also wants to submit to more video contests. He said it felt good to be able to give back to Millbrook High School and promote awareness on distracted driving at the same time. “My older brother drives and I know it’s dangerous for me and other people in other cars when he is looking at his phone while driving or [is otherwise] distracted,” Caleb said. “I hope people get some sense of [how dangerous] distracted driving is and think about that when they drive.” Caleb’s 25-second video may be viewed on YouTube by searching “2011 Distracted Driving Video Contest Millbrook High School.”

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