The SponStar award recognizes the teacher/sponsors that make a difference to teens through their work with the Teens in the Driver Seat® program.
Janice Briones – El Dorado 9th Grade Academy, El Paso, TX - Ms. Briones has been leading the Teens in the Driver Seat team for three years and is described as someone who inspires students and is looked up to as a role model. The El Dorado TDS team meets at least weekly to plan events. Words used to describe Ms. Briones are inspiration, role model, friend, encourager and motivator.
Carie Archer – Chisum High School, Paris, TX – Ms. Archer support thirty Teens in the Driver team members who meet at least once a week to plan activities. She encourages the team to come up with new ideas and helps make them happen because she believes in the program and keeping teens safe on the roads. She is described as someone who helps get things done, helps get students through difficult times and makes sure team members live up to potential. Words used to describe Ms. Archers are inspiring, caring, dedicated, trustworthy and committed.
Laura Rizo – Desert View Middle School, El Paso, TX – Ms. Rizo has sponsored Teens in the Driver Seat for at least four years. There are 14 students on the team, however, because Ms. Rizo is passionate about having an impact on as many are youth as possible, she has a club outside the school that includes at least forty former students. They all work together for some of their presentations. Ms. Rizo is very passionate about helping students make good choices and feels she has an opportunity to give back, be a role model, and have an impact on youths. Ms. Rizo’s team helps plan and implement Red Ribbon Activities, presented a “Street Smarts” assembly that focuses on safe driving habits, and are frequently asked by elementary campuses to present for their students.
Dorothy White – Garland Youth Council, Garland, TX – Ms. White has been a long-time sponsor of TDS in Garland. She supports a team of 20 who participate in the Healthy Living Expo by hosting a display table promoting Teens in the Driver Seat and safe driving habits. The activities or theme of the board may change each year, but the purpose has always remained the same: to save people’s lives. Ms. White has always emphasized the GYC’s participation in this event as it promotes the Council’s community service platform: Teens in the Driver Seat. GYC’s TDS booth at the Healthy Living Expo allows teens to reach to peers in helping them live healthy lives with the promotion of safe driving habits. Ms. White has definitely been a tremendous asset in helping maintain the Teens in the Driver Seat program in GISD/Garland. She encourages members of Garland Youth Council to get involved with TDS and to learn more about it. She is described as dedicated, enthusiastic, kind, considerate and friendly.
Sylvia Garcia – Jefferson / Silva High School, El Paso, TX – Ms. Garcia has been the sponsor for Teens in the Driver Seat for two years. The team of 20 meets twice monthly, but the entire school in involved in TDS efforts. Students say her support has helped make TDS successful, even though most students do not want to hear about safety. Ms. Garcia believes in students becoming involved in the community in a positive manner. She tells students that volunteerism is very important to keep communities safe and leads by example. She ultimately cares for our community, our campus, and the lives of all students. Several students described one TDS project that stands out, which was the mother/daughter conference where five students gave a presentation. She was available to review the presentation and gave suggestions on how to improve it. It was chosen as one of the top 10 presentations out of more than 30. Students agree it was her support that made it better. Words used to describe Ms. Garcia: amazing, responsible, caring, enthusiastic, energetic, generous, funny, kind, comprehensive, open-minded, supportive, knowledgeable, and encouraging.
Vivian Johnson – Naaman Forest High School, Garland, TX – Ms. Johnson has sponsored the Teens in the Driver Seat team for over five years. She believes in the TDS message and inspires her students to make a difference in this arena and many others. Her ongoing work with the students at Naaman Forest HS is definitely making a positive impact! One comment given was “Ms. Johson has a passion for working with students. I have watched her take her personally time to make sure the students are involved in sending the endorsed message of Teens in the Driver Seat. Additionally, in collaboration with a local writer she has developed a booklet that speak to the objectives of the program. She has on-going programs at her school that not only involved the students but the entire staff and people in the commuity. The programs have gotten local recognition and are included on the Garland ISD website.” Words used to describe Ms. Johnson: dedicated, caring, inspirational, energetic, sincere, outgoing, and helpful.
Suzanne Reese – Creekview High School, Carrollton, TX – “Mama Reese,” as she is lovingly called, is the type of advisor and mentor who lights fires in all her students. “Working with her every day makes you want to go out a be involved in Service Learning and want to be involved in making the world and our community a better place.” She lets her students know why she believes in the program so much – because she has lost students in crashes and never wants to experience it again. She always lets students know they may never know whether they have made an impact or not, but if they have saved even one life, then it has been worth it! She is described as creative, tireless, loving, selfless, and always inspiring, totally “young-at-heart!” and sixty-one going on 16!
Barbara Richards – Ventura High School, Ventura, CA – This is Ventura’s first year with Teens in the Driver Seat. They have 15 team members and meet twice a week. Her students describe her as someone who is an amazing advisor who can always be depended upon, a great speaker, and knows how to get people to understand about the risks teens face. Words to describe Ms. Richards: fun, outgoing, funny, friendly, caring, great leader, intelligent, strong-willed, encouraging, thoughtful, compassionate, enthusiastic, straight-forward, helpful, and kind.
Alana Ellenburg – Pepperell High School, Lindale, GA – Ms. Ellenburg has sponsored the Teens in the Driver Seat team for two years. The team of twelve students meet two to three times per month. Pepperell holds a community event called “Just Drive,” where she was instrumental in helping gain resources and people together for the day. Her students say she not only inspires teens to make safe driving decisions behind the wheel but also goes that extra mile to help teens create a promising future out of their lives. She creates life long lasting impression through her dedicated hard work. She is very passionate about her work and it shows through her dedication.
Melanie Parsons – Garland High School, Garland, TX – Ms. Parsons has sponsored TDS over five years and is recognized as the original sponsor for Garland High Schools. She has invested much time and effort in keeping these important messages going each year and are local leaders in teen safety messaging and activities. Ms. Parsons was one of the first to step up to participate in a citywide Teens in the Driver Seat awareness event sponsored by the City of Garland. She is described as dedicated, enthusiastic, fun, energetic and in-tune.
Karen Calonico – Westmoor High School, Daly City, CA – This is Westmoor’s first year with Teens in the Driver Seat. They have a team of seventeen students who meet weekly to evaluate past activities and plan new ones. Ms. Calonico’s students say she has been an integral part of their success and makes sure everyone sticks to the message. She encourages every member to participate in order to learn important skills. She has a passion for the cause and shares her experiences freely. Words to describe Ms. Calonico are passionate, helpful, dedicated, innovative and involved.
Kim Meador – Mayde Creek High School, Houston, TX – Ms. Meador and Teen Advisory Board member Taylor Hudson are working hard to grow Teens in the Driver Seat within the school and district. Ms. Meador has been supportive and excited to help with activities and helped get the top five risks printed on the back of Homecoming and Prom tickets. This duo is hoping to implement the program through National Honor Society next school year.
Ginger Postert – Bandera High School, Bandera, TX – Coach Postert leads a team of 25 students. She is described as very enthusiastic and really pushes the team to make the program a success. No matter how many things she has going on she always manages to make TDS exciting and a good program. Coach Postert takes the time to observe students driving in the school parking lot and will stop to compliment & reward good driving. Words used to describe Ms. Postert are awesome, funny, motivated, organized and smart.