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The entire team at The May Firm is very proud to announce the 2016 winner of the $1,000.00 Don’t Text and Drive Scholarship to Courtney Hatfield!
Here at The May Firm, we understand and value the importance of higher education and created this scholarship in an effort to help students with the rising financial tolls of attending college. The scholarship requires students to write an essay in response to the question: What Would Really Make Drivers Stop Texting While Driving?
We received over 150 applications from all over the country. Each essay showed thought and we appreciate all the time and hard work that went into each submission. Upon countless hours of reading, Courtney’s essay stuck out the most.
Courtney is currently completing her undergraduate degree in social work at Michigan State University and holds a 3.75 GPA.
Not only has Courtney been an excellent student throughout college, but she has also been involved in numerous extracurricular activities including; residential relief technician, student athlete tutor and much more.
We are extremely proud of Courtney and have posted her winning essay below.
You step inside the cool psychology building after a long, hot day of trudging around campus—you’re ready for the relief that the end of the day brings. The calendar app on your phone beeps to remind you of the research study you agreed to participate in for class credit, so you hurry down the long hallway to find the room listed on the website. You enter the room to find a woman handing out a stack of clipboards and pens. She motions for you to take a seat as she hands you clipboard with a paper already attached to it, and instructs you to fill out the survey and wait for further instruction.
It takes you only few minutes to fill out the survey. You scribble out answers as you occasionally glance up at the clock, getting annoyed that the day is going by so fast. The questions ask you about your driving habits––varying from seat belt use to common driving distractions. You roll your eyes at the simplicity of the questions. The instructor clears her throat and asks that you and the rest of the students move to an interviewing room where the group will be asked to read their answers out loud. The group shuffles into a room that contains multiple chairs arranged in a circle, with a woman sitting in the center. Once everyone is seated, another student offers to read out his answers first, clearly eager to be done with the study. He lists his answers in a matter of fact way, voicing his habits of eating and using his phone while driving, and reports no accidents during his history of driving. This becomes a pattern as each student takes their turn. You’re one of the last people to take their turn, and you feel confident giving your answers as they are very similar to others before you. You read off your answers in almost a prideful way, bragging about your ability to drive with your knees so you’re able to text.
After a moment of silence, the woman in the center begins to speak. She introduces herself and mentions politely that her mother was a professor at the university. She takes a brief pause before solemnly telling the group of her mother’s recent death in a car accident near campus.
Feeling awkward, you fidget in your seat and wonder what relevance this has to the research study. You return your focus back to the woman and notice that tears are beginning to fill her eyes. She intentionally looks at each of you and explains that the cause of the accident was a distracted driver; the police found the driver’s phone among the wreckage with a half finished text. It takes a moment for you to realize the importance of this detail. This woman’s mother died in an accident because the other driver wasn’t looking at the road, but was sending an ‘omg lol’ text to their friend. Your face flushes with embarrassment as you remember the so-called talent you divulged to the crowd just moments earlier. Feeling ashamed, you look away from the woman, feeling the weight of your mistake. Moments pass as silence fills the room.
Finally the woman speaks: she calmly explains that her intent is not to shame you, but to help you realize the gravity of any form of distracted driving. You think about how this woman lost her mother, but it could have been your mother instead. Or even yourself. It only took ten minutes to open your eyes to the horrific possibilities of one careless act—an experience that will pop into your mind each time you’re tempted to glance at your phone the next time it buzzes on the passenger seat next to you. You’d seen anti-texting and driving commercials before, but it took a real life example of a real life lost to understand what a reckless choice you make each time you type away while at the wheel; because you met this woman and heard of her loss, you’ll never again risk a life by texting while driving.
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