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Shen students send sobering message on billboard in Clifton Park

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Albany/HV: Shen students send sobering message on billboard in Clifton Park
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It's an annual billboard contest for Shenendehowa High School students to bring awareness to the issue of drinking and driving. The winning design was unveiled on Thursday and as YNN's Erin Moran tells us, this year, the message hit a little closer to home.

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. -- “They get a real world example and a chance to make a difference, it's invaluable,” said Matthew Duddy, Vice President and General Manager of Lamar Advertising.

Seventy Shenendehowa students waited in anticipation Thursday morning to see whose design was revealed on the billboard along Route 9 in Clifton Park. It's a competition between the graphic design students to bring awareness to the issues of drunk and impaired driving.

“I really didn't know that I was going to get picked. I didn't even really think mine was the best. I liked other people's more, so it was really surprising,” said Liz Popson, a Shenendehowa junior and the winner of the competition.

Her design was simple, reading “A drunk driver killed my little sisters. Choose not to drink and drive.”

And while she said she's an only child and can't truly relate to the message, she wanted something that grabbed attention quickly.

“If you speak to people's emotions, it really works more,” said Popson.

“I think these contests are very important. These are the kids, 16, 17, 18 years old, who are new drivers on the road. They're at parties and we know drinking is going on. We want to make sure the message, 'Don't drink and drive' is going out there,” said Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy.

The Shen High community knows the heartache of losing loved ones, after the December crash on the Northway that killed Deanna Rivers and Chris Stewart. Prosecutors say they were killed by an impaired driver.

“There was an immediate understanding of its importance, of its significance, and the special meaning it had for all the students,” said Murphy.

The driver in that crash is facing several charges, including driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, but not DWI.

Popson said she hopes her design will cause people to think twice before getting behind the wheel.

“It makes me feel really good that we can do this, especially this year. Because the whole Clifton Park, Saratoga County knows about this, and obviously, this isn't about that, but it still speaks to the same issues and hopefully it'll help make people think more about what they do,” said Popson.

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