West York student wins writing award

Christopher Dornblaser

Earlier this year, Leah Jameson, a 16-year-old junior at West York Area High School, entered an extra credit writing piece into a statewide contest.

The contest, "It Can Wait," from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation (PNA), encouraged students to write and raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving.

Initially, Leah was really just hoping for some extra credit in her honors English class. Instead, she earned third place for her submission and won $100.

“I was pretty surprised because I wasn't’ expecting to win anything,” she said.

Essay: Her piece, written in February, is one page, titled "Temptation and Selfishness."

"Next time your phone buzzes while cruising down the road, remember the 14 million other people who are doing what they can to make sure that their lives are not changed in an instant. Driving distracted is selfish," a portion of it reads.

Her full essay can be read here.

Leah said when she started writing her essay, she really started thinking about texting and driving.

"Everybody says they won't do it," she said.

Yet Leah said she sees people texting and driving, and she thinks her essay could be a good way to spread the message of avoiding it.

York College student graduating 7 years after brain injury sidelined her

“You don’t realize the implications that (texting and driving) has on everybody else on the road,” she said.

PNA announced the winners of the "It Can Wait" contest in March, and Leah received a certificate for her award last month during a luncheon.

Leah said she plans to add the $100 award to her college fund. The top two colleges she would like to attend are Pennsylvania State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"It Can Wait" is a national movement urging drivers to pledge to keep their eyes on the road and not their phones, according to a release from the PNA.

To view the other award-winning essays, check here.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.

Leah Jameson