It Can Wait Editorial Contest

It Can Wait Editorial Contest


Virtual Celebration


Teresa Shaak




The PNA Foundation and Pennsylvania’s newspapers, together with AT&T, are joining again to host an “It Can Wait” editorial contest to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.  The 2021 contest, beginning Dec. 1, is open to all Pennsylvania high school students and offers a $500 prize for the column or editorial – written or via video – that best answers the question, “Why is it important to take the It Can Wait pledge to drive distraction free?” At the judges’ discretion, additional second and third place awards of $250 and $150, respectively, may be presented.

Congratulations to the 2021 It Can Wait Contest winners!
Read our Press Release.

First Place – Mandy Ritter, West Perry High School
View Mandy’s video entry.

Second Place – Naomi Brown, Sullivan County High School
Read Naomi’s entry.

Third Place – Jocelyn Stevenson, Neshaminy High School

Hundreds of thousands of vehicle crashes a year are caused by distracted driving, often involving injuries and death. While 95 percent of people know that distracted driving is dangerous, a majority still admit to using their smartphones while driving.  However, more than 50 percent of people are more likely to stop driving distracted if someone pressures them.

“It Can Wait” is a national movement urging drivers to visit, where they can pledge to care for others and put their phones down while driving, and share their pledges via Twitter (#ItCanWait) and Facebook. Since its launch in 2010, the campaign has helped increase awareness of the dangers of texting while driving to about 90 percent for all audiences surveyed and inspired more than 40 million pledges not to drive distracted.


Past Contests

Since 2015, the PNA Foundation has joined with AT&T to host statewide “It Can Wait” editorial contests.  PNA member newspapers are invited to host local contests to encourage high school students in their communities to help make roadways safer.  A winner is recognized in each participating community and entered into the statewide contest.  Since 2015, more than 840 students have participated in the contest across Pennsylvania.

Past statewide winners

2020: First place – Josie Deeter, Saegertown High School. Read Josie’s winning entry. and Saegertown High School’s article. Read our 2020 press release.

Erin Bossler, Mount Carmel Area High School, received second place honors while Xavier Koser, Newport High School, placed third.  (View Bossler’s entry and Koser’s entry.)

2019: First place – Alayna McClain, Bermudian Springs High School.  Read Alayna’s winning entry and read our press release.

Keiko Grove, home-schooled, received second place honors while Paige Mitchell, Tri-Valley High School, placed third. (View Grove’s entry and Mitchell’s entry.)

2018: Brooke Yurick, Bermudian Springs High School, York Springs. Read Yurick’s winning entry and read our press release. ​

Treston Johnson, a senior at Carlisle High School, received second place honors, while Julie Bauer, a Bellwood-Antis High School senior, placed third (view Bauer’s entry).

2017: Biridiana Lua-Garcia, Bermudian Springs High School, York Springs.  Read Lua-Garcia’s winning entry and review our press release.

Additional awards were added in 2017.  Abby Riggio, Blackhawk High School, Beaver Falls, received second place honors (view Riggio’s entry), while Leah Jameson, West York Area High School, placed third (view Jameson’s entry).

2016:  Kyleigh Balint, Sullivan County High School, Laporte.  Read Kyleigh’s essay and review our press release.

2015: Ryan Holzman, Boyertown Area High School.  Read more about Ryan’s statewide and local victories and review our 2015 press release.

Hold an “It Can Wait” contest

We are asking PNA members to hold local contests, with a monetary or other prize of your choosing, to encourage high school students to write a column or editorial about the dangers of distracted driving.

Read More


For Students! Enter the contest for a chance to win $500!

If your local news media company is not holding a contest in your area, we encourage you to enter with the PNA Foundation directly.

Read More


Be sure to check out the details about the Stop Cyber Bullying Editorial Contest, too!