Local high schools earn top awards for teen-related traffic crash and fatality prevention efforts

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SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — The Liberty, Jefferson Forest, and Staunton River high school YOVASO clubs were among the 22 award winners recognized during the annual Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO) Awards Ceremony Tuesday night.

Officer Gerwin Thompson with the Lynchburg Police Department was also recognized along with Julianne Hughes, a 2020 graduate of Staunton River High School, and Sheila Lythgoe, a Prevention Specialist with Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare in Roanoke and chair of YOVASO’s Advisory Board. The YOVASO club at Eastern Montgomery High School in Montgomery Co., and Heritage High School in Lynchburg City, were also recognized.

The YOVASO Awards Ceremony recognizes exemplary efforts during the 2019-2020 school year to encourage safe driving and passenger safety among teenagers.

  • Outstanding Club Recognition: Liberty High School (Bedford Co.) In recognition of member clubs that have  previously received the Club of the Year Award and continue to maintain the same high level of performance and best practices for peer-to-peer traffic safety programs.
  • Outstanding Club Recognition: Jefferson Forest High School (Bedford Co.) In recognition of member clubs that have  previously received the Club of the Year Award and continue to maintain the same high level of performance and best practices for peer-to-peer traffic safety programs.
Jefferson Forest High School YOVASO Club Members and Deputy Goff
  • Distracted Driving Prevention Award: Liberty High School (Bedford Co.)In recognition of a member club’s outstanding programs to prevent distracted driving among young drivers. Award may recognize one exceptional program or a body of work.
  • School Resource Officer of the Year: Officer Gerwin Thompson, Heritage High School (Lynchburg City) In recognition of an SRO’s ongoing support and guidance to the school’s traffic safety club and commitment to striving for excellence in club growth and development.
Gerwin Thompson
  • Impaired Driving Prevention Award: Heritage High School (Lynchburg City) In recognition of a member club’s and/or individual’s outstanding programs and activities to encourage Zero Tolerance and to prevent impaired driving among teens. Award may recognize one exceptional program or a body of work.
Heritage High School YOVASO Club Members
  • Speaking Out and Saving Lives Award: Eastern Montgomery High School (Montgomery Co.) In recognition of a member club’s spirit and commitment for engaging students throughout the school year in a variety of creative programs and activities that encourage safe and responsible driving and traffic safety.
  • Youth Leadership Award: Julianne Hughes, Staunton River High School (Bedford Co.) In recognition of a student who demonstrates exemplary leadership skills and a commitment to working on safe teen driving and youth traffic safety programs at the local and state level.
Julianne Hughes
  • Steven D. Goodwin Lifetime Achievement Award: Sheila Lythgoe, Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare (Roanoke City) In recognition of a special individual who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to youth traffic safety and the prevention of crashes, injuries, and fatalities among young drivers and passengers.
Sheila Lythgoe

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