TROY, Mich., May 19, 2010 – The Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) awarded high school students deterring underage drinking with $17,000 in scholarships at the Courageous Persuaders Awards Celebration, featuring a red carpet arrival hosted by renowned television personality Huel Perkins, anchor at WJBK Fox2. The awards celebration was held on May 18th at Troy Marriott in Troy, Mich.

courageous persuadersThe DADA is the primary sponsor and administrator of the Courageous Persuaders program which is facilitated through the DADA Education Foundation. “We are thrilled at this year’s entry turnout and to celebrate the students that understand the serious dangers of underage drinking,” said Bill Perkins, DADA President.

The competition, now in its tenth year in Michigan, encourages high school students to create 30-second television commercials warning middle school students about the dangers of drinking alcohol. The contest drew 743 video entries, which included 1,196 students from 383 schools in 45 U.S. states.

Student scholarships and award winners:

  • Grand Prize, $3,000 – “Don’t Drink – Understand!” by Camryn Washington, Chelsea Washington, Homeschooled, Southfield, Michigan.
  • First Place, $1,500 – “Peer Action” by Benjamin Webber, Tim Callesen, Trevor McDowell of Davison High School in Davison, Michigan.
  • Second Place, $1,000 – “Agents Against Alcoholic Beverages” by Corey Gipperich, Ross Stolzenburg, Sean McIntyre of Lake Orion High School in Lake Orion, Michigan.
  • Third Place, $500 – “Don’t Skip Steps” by Robyn Gray, Doug Oliver, Brad Powell, Lee M. Thurston High School in Redford, Michigan.

In addition, special sponsored awards were presented to the following:

  • Lindsey Renee Cianciolo Family Memorial Scholarship $3,000 – two $1,500 Michigan based scholarship winners: “Adieu” by John Russell from Lenawee ISD Tech Center, Adrian, Michigan. “Word Score” by Michael Crawford from Detroit Catholic Central High School in Novi, Michigan.
  • DADA Award, $2,000 – contributed by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association: “Don’t be a Tool” by Devon Green of Walled Lake Western High School Commerce Township, Michigan.
  • New York festivals, $2,000 – chosen based on the commercial’s effectiveness to inform and inspire: “Pass Me Another Lie” by Karianne Caylor, Dakota Forgette, Kaylyn Schultz of Carney Nadeau Public School in Menominee, Michigan.
  • Adcraft Club of Detroit Award, $2,000 – presented to the commercial that conveyed factual information about the dangers of alcohol use in the most persuasive and creative manner: “Think Don’t Drink” by Jonathan D’ Abrosio of Lake Orion High School in Lake Orion, Michigan.
  • State Farm Award, $1,000 – chosen based on the commercial’s effectiveness on the dangers and consequences of underage drinking and automobile usage: “Spelling Bee” by Troy Gould of Oakwood High School in Dayton, Ohio.
  • College for Creative Studies Award, Free Continuing Education Course – “Spelling Bee” by Troy Gould of Oakwood High School in Dayton, Ohio.
  • USA Today Award, $1,000 – chosen by the USA Today Detroit staff from among the most persuasive commercials, as judged by middle school students: “A True Friend” by Ariel Sinelnikoff of San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California.
  • USA Today Courageous Leader Award – presented to a special teacher for his or her extraordinary contribution to the Courageous Persuaders program: Kara Clayton of Lee M. Thurston High School in Redford, Michigan.

Winners were selected after several rounds of judging. During the first round, a panel from the Detroit Auto Dealers Association viewed the entries and identified the top 70 contenders. Those entries were then reviewed by students at middle schools who completed questionnaires. Results of the questionnaires determined the winners.

“This video worked because it showed that friends can help other friends not drink,” said a middle school student who judged the winning Grand Prize Award. “The play on words was an entertaining example that kids should say no,” said another.

The Courageous Persuaders program was created in 2000 by Oakland County District Judge Michael A. Martone and John Barczyk, a local McCann-Erickson advertising executive. In 2007, the DADA became the primary sponsor and administrator of the Courageous Persuaders program through its DADA Education Foundation.

The grand prize-winning commercial will be broadcast on television and the winner will also be featured in a print ad that will run in USA Today this summer, and will be televised on TV stations across the U.S. Winning videos will be posted on For additional information, please contact the Detroit Auto Dealers Association office at 248.643.0250.

About the DADA Education Foundation
The mission of the DADA Education Foundation is to promote excellence in education through quality programs and leadership. In addition to the Courageous Persuaders program, the Foundation also administers Automotive Education Day at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), and the NAIAS Poster Contest.

About Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA)
DADA Education Foundation
The DADA was founded in 1907 by 17 local car dealers, and has grown to more than 220 member car and truck dealers who donate their time and resources to a host of community activities.

Detroit area auto dealers participate in the NAIAS, LLC, which is responsible for the production of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The most significant charitable venture of the DADA is the annual NAIAS Charity Preview, which has raised more than $82 million for children’s charities in southeastern Michigan since 1976. To find out more about Detroit Auto Dealers Association, visit To find out more about the North American International Auto Show, visit

Contact: Sandy Herp, Tel: 248.283.5138,

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