2014 OFF THE RAILS WINNERS: Savannah Newans and Rachelle Hall

We’re excited to introduce you to the first duo of Off the Rails Contest winners, Savannah Newans, 12, and Rachelle Hall, 13, grade 7 students at École Van Walleghem School, in Winnipeg, MB. Also known as Team R-S and Équipe R-S, this duo created two very unique, English and French, hard-hitting and well-scripted videos, which drive home the message of rail safety. To top it off, each presentation took home the icing on the cake—two first-place prizes of $4,000!

We had a chance to catch up with Savannah and Rachelle to talk about the motivation and inspiration behind these rail-safety-savvy videos. Not only were they eager to talk to us about their submissions, but this talented team also shared some great insights into the importance of rail safety.

What made you enter the contest?

[caption id="attachment_8345" align="alignright" width="346"]Savannah Newans, Mme. Ciavarelli and Rachelle Hall Savannah Newans, Mme. Ciavarelli and Rachelle Hall[/caption]

Kids and teens need to learn about train safety, as it could be their lives at stake! There are lots of train accidents and it is good to get the message out there to be safe around trains. 

How did you prepare your entry? How did you decide what to do?

Our multi-media teacher, Mme. Amanda Ciavarelli, helped explain how to plan out the videos as we have learned in our multi-media classes. We both thought filming would be the most fun and we thought it was the best way to get the message out. It’s a good visual. It would be like a commercial on TV, so we thought that it would be very impactful to present it that way.

We thought that a video would have more of an impact by showing scenes that you can’t really show on a poster in the same manner.

What message do you want your entry to convey to your peers?

The big one is to be more cautious about trains because most people will underestimate the speed and the power of the train. People need to stop and think, especially kids who don’t realize these dangers!

What did this contest teach you about rail safety?

We really didn’t think that trains could be that dangerous. We were surprised as to how fast a train could reach you.  

Another thing that we learned that we did not know before is that there is a phone number on the back of the crossbuck should you need to call an emergency in. (If your car gets stuck on the track, for example.)  

We also learned that more than 130 people die each year from getting hit by a train (or driving into the side of a train) when distracted while driving. A train can hit you as fast as 13 seconds from a mile away! Finally, we learned to not ever throw stuff at a train as it can ricochet off and hit you!

Congratulations girls! Thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us and for sharing such fantastic rail safety videos!

As always, we would like to remind you to always remember: Look! Listen! and Live!