Over $25,000 in Scholarships Awarded to High School Students at Courageous Persuaders Awards Celebration

TROY, Mich.May 3, 2019  — The Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) hosted its annual Courageous Persuaders Awards Celebration on Wednesday, May 1 at the Emagine Theatre in Royal Oak, MI, where over $25,000 in scholarships and awards were granted to high school students. These courageous students took a stand to raise awareness amongst their peers on the dangers of underage drinking, drinking and driving and texting while driving.

The DADA is the primary sponsor and administrator of the Courageous Persuaders program, which is facilitated through the DADA Education Foundation. “This was truly an inspirational event,” said Rod Alberts, DADA Executive Director, who represented the DADA at the event. “It provides hope that our next generation will not only make positive lifestyle choices, but will inspire others to do the same.”


Now in its 19th year, Courageous Persuaders is a competition where high school students create 30-second television commercials warning middle school students about the dangers of underage drinking, drinking and driving, and texting while driving. The contest drew 706 entries from 281 high schools, and has involved over 900 students from 38 states across the U.S. and from Ontario. Over 1,000 middle school students viewed and evaluated the videos as part of the judging process. Courageous Persuaders continues to grow in scope and reach each year as it connects with more students and partners across the nation.

“Courageous Persuaders would not be possible if it were not for the gracious support from our partner companies,” added Alberts. “Underage drinking, drinking and driving, and distracted driving are national problems and having a longstanding partnership with State Farm has allowed us to expand our national reach and ultimately positively impact more lives.”

Student scholarships and award winners:

  • Grand Prize, $3,000 – “Was That Drink Worth Your Last Breath?” by Noah Hudson-Peralta, Frederick V. Pankow Center, Clinton Twp., MI
  • State Farm Fan Favorite Award, $2,500 (winning school) – Lee M. Thurston High SchoolRedford, MI and State Farm Fan Favorite Award, $1,000 (winning student) – “Who’s At Risk” by Asia Yandan, Lee M. Thurston High SchoolRedford, MI
  • DADA Award, $2,000, Dangers of Texting While Driving – “Downgrade” by Owen Walter, Sickles High School, Tampa, FL
  • DADA Award, $2,000, Dangers of Underage Drinking – “Doors To The Future” by Delaney Rohrs, Careerline Tech Center, Holland, MI
  • Adcraft Detroit Award, $2,000: presented to the commercial that conveyed factual information about the dangers of alcohol use in the most persuasive and creative manner – “Don’t Let Alcohol Take The Wheel” by Shane VerkestJack BraithwaiteLauren Bayless, Frederick V. Pankow Center, Clinton Twp., MI
  • First Place Award, $2,000, Dangers of Underage Drinking – “Puppet On Strings” by Jacob Ashba, Frederick V. Pankow Center, Clinton Twp., MI
  • Detroit Auto Dealers Association Executive Award, $2,000 – “Life Is Precious” by Palmer Williams, Hillgrove High School, Powder Springs, GA
  • Friends of Linsey Renee Cianciolo Memorial Fund, $1,500 – “That Girl” by Jenna Gaylord, Lake Orion High School, Lake Orion, MI
  • Lindsey Renee Cianciolo Family Memorial Fund, $1,500 – “1 Drink” by Will DunganOakland Schools Technical Campus Southwest, Wixom, MI
  • State Farm Award, $1,000chosen based on the commercial’s effectiveness on the dangers and consequences of underage drinking and automobile usage – “Do It For Others, Do It For You” by Julie LeeCurtis High SchoolStaten Island, NY
  • Michigan Film and Digital Media Office Award, $1,000 – “Memories” by Emma PalettaOakland Schools Technical Campus Southwest, Wixom, MI
  • Second Place, $1,000, Dangers of Underage Drinking – “Drinking Impacts Everyone” by Allison HummelRomeo High SchoolRomeo, MI
  • Courageous Persuaders Award, $1,000 – “Everything Is Destroyed” by Aasutosh Acharya, Cottonwood High School, Murray, UT
  • Third Place, $500, Dangers of Underage Drinking – “I’m Sorry” by Jaxton Bevins, Lenawee ISD Tech Center, Adrian, MI
  • Wall Street Journal – Courageous Leader Award – Michael Kaufman, TV & Broadcast Media Teacher, Frederick V. Pankow Center, Clinton Twp., MI
  • Oakland University Award, $500 – “Angel And Devil” by Hunter Miller, William D. Ford Career Tech Center, Westland, MI
  • College for Creative Studies Award, $250 – “Be Scared” by Samuel MillerColin RishaWeston Welch, Plymouth High School, Canton, MI

In addition to the scholarship, the grand prize winning student receives the opportunity to participate in a professional editing session to make the video broadcast ready by Pluto Post Productions. The commercial will be broadcast on the Courageous Persuaders website, on television, and will be televised in select branches of the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office.

The Courageous Persuaders program was created in 2000 by the late Oakland County District Judge Michael A. Martone and John Barczyk, a local McCann-Erickson advertising executive (retired).  In 2007, the DADA became the primary sponsor and administrator of the Courageous Persuaders program through its DADA Education Foundation.

About the DADA Education Foundation
The mission of the DADA Education Foundation is to promote excellence in education through quality programs and leadership. In addition to the Courageous Persuaders program, the Foundation also administers Automotive Education Day at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), and the NAIAS Poster Contest.

About Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA)
The mission of the DADA is to support its membership through legislative and industry representation, educational programs and communications, and community relations activities. Founded in 1907 by a group of five Detroit-area auto dealers after they hosted the very first Detroit Auto Show in the same year, today, the DADA membership includes 190 new-vehicle dealers who own 226 dealerships-selling 42 different vehicle lines in 66 cities throughout the greater Detroit area. The dealers are affiliated with the DADA through one or more of 12 vehicle line groups, or through individual membership.

One of the chief goals of the association is to promote the integral role that the motor vehicle plays in the economy of our nation and the world. Many of the members of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association participate in the NAIAS, LLC, which is responsible for the production of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

The DADA members support their communities through charitable involvement. The most significant charitable venture of the DADA is the annual NAIAS Charity Preview. Since 1976, the Charity Preview has raised over $117 million for southeastern Michigan children’s charities – over $40 million of which was raised in the last 10 years alone. In 1998, the DADA founded the DADA Charitable Foundation Fund, one of the benefiting charities of the NAIAS Charity Preview, to support charitable organizations and activities that assist children and youth.

SOURCE Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA)