Ford Driving Skills for Life Announces Winners of National Safety Song Contest in Surprise School Assembly With Celebrity Kate Voegele

Jun 09, 2010, 15:06 ET from Ford Motor Company

MIDLAND, Penn., June 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

  • Student band wins $20,000 in savings bonds as national winner of Ford Driving Skills for Life Belt It Out song contest.

  • Surprise announcement made by celebrity Kate Voegele during school assembly near Pittsburgh, Penn.

  • Members of the 2nd and 3rd place bands, from the Minnesota communities of Maplewood and Rosemount respectively, receive savings bonds of $1,000$3,000.

A carefully-staged surprise stunned high school students Amber Ardolino (16), Chalisse Monroe (16), Levi Keller (17), and Trey Singletary (16) in front of the student body at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School.  Celebrity Kate Voegele announced that each of the four will receive a $5,000 savings bond as national winners in an original song and video contest sponsored by Ford Driving Skills for Life to promote teen safe driving.  Ford Motor Company Fund, Governors Highway Safety Association, and KDKA-TV (CBS Affiliate) sponsored the safe driving assembly at the school.  

Kate Voegele, popular singer/songwriter/actress (One Tree Hill, "A Fine Mess") interrupted the assembly to tell the surprised students of their win. They were invited to join her on stage as she sang two hits from her second album, "A Fine Mess." Voegele, 22, has been a Ford DSFL spokesperson since 2008 and was a former member of Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) at her high school in Ohio.

"We are thrilled to recognize these students and their song "Drive Safely" which shares important messages about potential dangers of driving. Teens reached out to other teens in this unique contest, and they are to be commended for a job well done," said Jim Graham, manager of Community Relations for Ford Fund.

"Belt it Out" invited teens in an open competition to compose, perform, and record songs with a clear message regarding the #1 killer of teens -- vehicle crashes. Entries were judged by a panel to determine the top ten finalists. The public was invited to vote on for their favorites among the top ten finalists. The top three in the public vote were judged by Kate Voegele, who selected the Lincoln Park's students as the grand prize winners.

The 2nd place winners, who each receive a $3,000 savings bond, are from Hill Murray School in Maplewood, Minn.:  Benjamin Carlson, Kathryn Gentner, Abigail Herickhoff, Joseph Scherping, and Seth Josephson.  A $1,000 savings bond goes to each of the 3rd place winners from Rosemount High School in Rosemount, Minn.:  Mackenzie Carlson, Kristen Farris, Dave Iverson, Alex Norris and Kasey Tousignant.

Ford Driving Skills for Life was created in 2003 in partnership with the Governors Highway Safety Association through the Ford Fund and Community Services.  It is one of the nation's most comprehensive teen driver safety programs.  In addition to hands-on events, it consists of learning tools such as an interactive Web site ( that includes a learning module, quizzes, car care videos, driving tip videos, interactive games and an enhanced eco-driving curriculum. Free educator packets are available for students and parents, as well as teachers and community programs.   Additionally, individual programs can be created to meet the specific needs of communities and schools.

About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services:

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services is focused on building community through programs that promote education, safe driving and quality of life in communities where Ford operates. Established in 1949, and made possible by funding from Ford Motor Company, the Fund's national programs include Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies, which provides high school students with academically rigorous 21st century learning experiences, and Ford Driving Skills for Life - a teen-focused auto safety initiative.  Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, established in 2005, Ford employees and retirees participate in a wide range of volunteer projects in their communities. For more information on programs made possible by the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services, visit

About the Governors Highway Safety Association:

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Indian Nation.  GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy and enhance program management.  Its members are appointed by their governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans.  Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit


SOURCE Ford Motor Company