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'Driving hammered will get you nailed'

Student's anti-DWI design wins billboard contest

Alyssa Jung

— Emily Himmelwright has a message about the dangers of drinking and driving —“driving hammered will get you nailed” —and every time motorists drive by the corner of Fermac Street in Colonie, it’s relayed loud and clear.

“I figured driving hammered would get you nailed because no matter what if you’re drunk and you’re driving you’re probably going to get caught,” said Himmelwright, a senior at Colonie Central High School.

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Emily Himmelwright, winner of the contest.

Himmelwright is a student in the school’s digital merchandising and design class and she created the winning design in a contest hosted by the art department and Lamar Graphics. As a prize, her creation was turned into a billboard that towers over Central Avenue.

“I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am right now,” said Himmelwright, speaking before classmates, family members and teachers at an unveiling Thursday, May 3. “It’s crazy seeing something go from a computer screen to something this big.”

The billboard shows a green car impaled with a giant nail, flanked by red and white lettering. She said she wanted something simple that would touch viewers immediately.

“I wanted something … they didn’t really have to think about,” said Himmelwright, who will attend Rochester Institute of Technology for art in the fall. “I just wanted something people would think about and hopefully think about the choices that they make before they actually go and make them.”

According to Chuck Deweese, assistant commissioner of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Traffic Safety Committee, about 1,400 people are killed in drunk driving accidents in New York each year.

“I love the message. … The stuff that comes from a teen’s imagination is really impressive,” said Deweese.

The contest was a joint effort between the digital merchandising and design class — a new course at the high school — and the digital photography class. Students from both classes visited Choices 301 in Altamont for inspiration.

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