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York, Adams county students compete for best driver

Katherine Ranzenberger
505-5439/@YDKatherine

Susquehannock High School has some of the best young drivers in York and Adams counties, according to the Center for Traffic Safety.

PMTA member Kevin White explains the Blind Spot Display to Spring Grove senior Andrew Luckenbaugh Tuesday, April 26, 2016, as part of the 25th Annual York/Adams Safe Driving Competition at South Western High School in Hanover. Amanda J. Cain photo

Students from 18 schools across the two counties competed Tuesday morning for scholarships, trophies and medals. The 54 students took written tests based on the Pennsylvania driving manual, answered true and false questions in a perception test and drove sedans through an obstacle course behind South Western High School, 200 Bowman Road.

For 25 years, schools around the county have competed for these bragging rights and actual money, said Wayne Harper, director of the Center for Traffic Safety. Harper spent his day instructing students during the perception test.

"This is by far my favorite part of the test for many reasons," he said. "You're going to become a better driver after you take this. The more aware you are of what's going on around you, the better you are."

The test included 45 possible points students could earn after answering true or false questions about pictures they had seen for 10 seconds. Most thought it was difficult. The highest score ever recorded in 25 years was a 41.

"The hardest part was the visual perception test," said Spring Grove senior Ashley Hildebrand. "You can only see the picture for 10 seconds. Whether or not I could see the green or red light at the end of the road was difficult."

Some students did really well on the perception test, though. Lauren Berger, a senior at Kennard-Dale High School, scored 36 out of 45 points, earning a $100 check from West York Ambulance Inc.

Winning students: Hanover High School student Benjamin Hutton took first place overall at the competition, earning a $2,500 scholarship from the Glatfelter Insurance Group. He got 137 points out of 165 possible points.

Second place overall went to South Western High School student Austin Latta with 131 points earned. He received a $1,500 scholarship from the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, York and Adams County Chapter.

John Keagel, of Red Lion, right, explains the Driving Range course, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, as part of the 25th Annual York/Adams Safe Driving Competition at South Western High School in Hanover. Amanda J. Cain photo

Third-place winner Connor Hood, a student at Susquehannock, received a $500 scholarship from the PMTA of York and Adams County after getting 130 points.

Hanover's Hutton also took first on the driving range, earning 69 of 75 points possible. He received a $100 check from West York Ambulance Inc. for the win. William Penn High School student Jermal Jordan took second on the driving range with 67 points. He received a $50 check from West York Ambulance.

Susquehannock's Hood and Elijah Holloway tied for first during the written test. The two will split the first and second place money between them, getting $75 each.

Winning schools: Susquehannock took the first place trophy for the second time in three years with an overall score of 357.

York Catholic High School came in second place with a score of 348. Third place was a tie between South Western and Northern High School in Dillsburg. Each school earned 337 points.

— Reach Katherine Ranzenberger at kranzenberger@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDKatherine