Local schools awarded for teen-related crash and fatality prevention efforts

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Several schools in Bedford County, Roanoke County, Lynchburg and Halifax County have earned top awards for teen-related traffic crash and fatality prevention efforts during the 2017-2018 school year.

Award winners were announced during the annual Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO) Awards Banquet held at James Madison University Wednesday night.

Schools, teachers and law enforcement from across Virginia were honored for "[demonstrating] exemplary efforts during the 2017-2018 school year to encourage safe driving and passenger safety among teenagers." At this banquet, people gathered to celebrate Virginia's traffic safety advocates.

The theme for this year's banquet was "Mardi Gras, Unmasking the Key to Saving Teen Lives."

Below are a list of local schools that were awarded:

YOVASO Club of the Year: Halifax County High School (Halifax Co.) In recognition of a member club for establishing and setting the standard for best practices in peer-led youth traffic safety programs. Award recognizes excellence in student leadership and club development, community outreach, engagement of the student body, effectiveness of programming, and participation in YOVASO campaigns and retreat.

YOVASO Sponsor of the Year (Teacher Advisor): Co-Sponsors of the Year- Wendy Brooks and Sarah Reaves, Halifax County High School (Halifax Co.) In recognition of a teacher’s ongoing support and guidance to the school’s traffic safety club and commitment to striving for excellence in club growth and development.

School Administrator of the Year: Michael Lewis, Principal, Halifax County High School (Halifax Co.) In recognition of a school administrator (principal, vice principal, superintendent, etc.) for outstanding support of and guidance to the school’s peer-to-peer traffic safety club.

Outstanding Club Recognition: Liberty High School (Bedford Co.) In recognition of member clubs that have previously received the Club of the Year Award and continue to maintain the same high level of performance and best practices for peer-to-peer traffic safety programs.

Outstanding Club Recognition: Jefferson Forest High School (Bedford Co.) In recognition of member clubs that have previously received the Club of the Year Award and continue to maintain the same high level of performance and best practices for peer-to-peer traffic safety programs.

Occupant Protection Award: Jefferson Forest High School (Bedford Co.) In recognition of a member club’s outstanding programs and activities to encourage safety belt use among youth and teens. Award may recognize one exceptional program or a body of work.

Speaking Out and Saving Lives Award: William Byrd High School (Roanoke Co.) In recognition of a member club’s spirit and commitment for engaging students throughout the school year in a variety of creative programs and activities that encourage safe and responsible driving and traffic safety. Award recognizes efforts that span the school year, including participation in several annual YOVASO traffic safety campaigns.

Youth Leadership Award: Morgann Dills, Liberty High School (Bedford Co.) In recognition of a YOVASO Youth Advisory Council (YAC) student who demonstrates exemplary leadership skills and a commitment to working on safe teen driving and youth traffic safety programs at the local and state level. The student leads and takes an active role with his/her school club, with YAC, and with the Summer Leadership Retreat.

New School Resource Officer of the Year: Deputy Rachel Goff, Jefferson Forest High School (Bedford Co.) In recognition of an SRO’s outstanding support and guidance to the school’s traffic safety club during his/her first year as an SRO at the school or first year advising the YOVASO Club

Impaired Driving Prevention Award: Heritage High School (City of Lynchburg) In recognition of a member club’s outstanding programs and activities to encourage Zero Tolerance and to prevent impaired driving among teens. Award may recognize one exceptional program or a body of work.

YOVADO is a program of the Virginia State Police and is funded by a grant from the Virginia DMV.