After parallel-parking a vehicle Tuesday, Central York High School junior Hillary Grove smiles at Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association’s Dean Riland,
After parallel-parking a vehicle Tuesday, Central York High School junior Hillary Grove smiles at Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association's Dean Riland, who was judging during the York/Adams Safe Driving Competition for Youth at South Western High School. (PHOTOS BY BILL KALINA — bkalina@yorkdispatch.com)

Northeastern High School is known for sweeping the York/Adams Safe Driving Competition for Youth each year.

In his 16 years as the school's driver and safety education teacher, Chad Forry said, his school has won all but three competitions. The students enjoy the spirit of competition, and the administrative staff supports the driver education program, he said.

"That does help breed more success sometimes," Forry said.

For 11 of the past 13 years, the school retained possession of the giant winning trophy.

"They're sort of the school that has excelled at this, and everybody's trying to get that trophy from them," said Bryan Sellers, chairman of the York Area Highway Safety Council.

West York police officer Korbin Spayd watches a student parallel park a vehicle Tuesday during the York/Adams Safe Driving Competition for Youth at South
West York police officer Korbin Spayd watches a student parallel park a vehicle Tuesday during the York/Adams Safe Driving Competition for Youth at South Western High School.

And on Tuesday, Susquehannock High School did — earning first place and beating the defending champs by one point.

The competition: The 23rd annual competition was held at South Western High School and featured the usual driving range, perceptual and written tests. The Center for Traffic Safety and the York Area Highway Safety Council conducted the event, and sponsors provided $5,100 in scholarships to competition winners.

A rainy driving course welcomed 53 students from 18 schools in York and Adams counties, but Sellers said the wetness is just another part of being on the road.

"People have to drive in the rain anyhow," he said.

For Dallastown Area High School senior Alex Lehman, the raindrops made her nervous. She said she had never driven a Ford before and wasn't sure where some of the controls were.

"I found the windshield wipers — that's all that matters," the 18-year-old said.

On the course, drivers had to parallel park, snake through a serpentine path of cones and pass through a narrow lane of tennis balls.

Lehman said the competition is worth the effort because teens involved in accidents often don't make it out alive.

"It's not just you that you have to worry about," she said. "You have to consider the safety of all the other people."

'Positive peer pressure': Driver safety among teens is a case of positive peer pressure, Sellers said. When students buckle their seat belts and drive safely, other students notice — especially when there's money on the line, he said.

"Some of these kids are going to go home with thousands of dollars," Sellers said.

It's important for teens to practice safe driving because of the number of drivers on the road who aren't so safe, said Northeastern junior Coulson Miller.

"We don't have safe drivers on the road," the 17-year-old said. "People don't know what they're doing."

Littlestown Senior High School senior Alicia Mosebrook agreed.

"A lot of people just want to get their license and don't understand that it's important to be a safe driver," the 18-year-old said.

The winners: The top-performing students in each event earned scholarship money, and the four best-performing students will go on to the state competition on Tuesday, May 13, in Camp Hill.

In a tie for first place, Casey Winard of Northeastern and Albert Schaeffer of Susquehannock each earned $2,000 scholarships.

Bennett Wisner of South Western and Seth Heidlebaugh of Susquehannock tied for second, each earning $250.

Their winnings were provided by the Glatfelter Insurance Group and the York/Adams chapter of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association.

— Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.

Safe driving results:

Team score:

First place - Susquehannock

Overall individual score:

Tie, first place and $2,000 each - Casey Winard, Northeastern; Albert Schaeffer, Susquehannock

Tie, second place and $250 each - Bennett Wisner, South Western; Seth Heidlebaugh, Susquehannock

Driving range:

Tie, first place and $75 each - Lacey Botteon, Gettysburg; Raphaelle Greco, York Suburban

Second place and $25 - Seth Heidlebaugh, Susquehannock

Perceptual driving:

First place and $100 - Lane Gross, Northeastern

Tie, second place and $25 each - Dulce Rankin, Eastern; Casey Winard, Northeastern; Albert Schaeffer, Susquehannock

Written test:

First place and $100 - Bennett Wisner, South Western

Second place and $50 - Tessa Sontheimer, Gettysburg

Third place and $25 each - Calvin Luckenbaugh, Central; Samantha Himes, Eastern; Matthew Printz, Northern; Alicia Sigmon, South Western