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Student’s urgent message: hold on

Colonie Central High School senior Josh Murphy’s design placed on billboard

Colonie Central High School senior Josh Murphy's slogan “Don’t Text and Drive - It Can Wait” and an image of the iconic iPhone text message symbol was chosen as the winning design for an anti-distracted driving billboard contest sponsored by the CCHS Art Department and Lamar Graphics.

Colonie Central High School senior Josh Murphy's slogan “Don’t Text and Drive - It Can Wait” and an image of the iconic iPhone text message symbol was chosen as the winning design for an anti-distracted driving billboard contest sponsored by the CCHS Art Department and Lamar Graphics. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— For many drivers, the tiny letters on a cell phone screen can be an irresistible siren call. But one Colonie Central High School senior hopes his larger-than-life message will take their focus off of distracted driving.

That message: “It can wait,” and every driver passing a billboard at the corner of Central Avenue and Route 155 will see it.

“A few of my friends do text and drive and I try to get them to stop,” Josh Murphy, 17, said. “It causes a lot of accidents and affects a lot of people.”

Murphy’s slogan “Don’t Text and Drive - It Can Wait” and an image of the iconic iPhone text message symbol was chosen as the winning design for an anti-distracted driving billboard contest sponsored by the CCHS Art Department and Lamar Graphics. Murphy gathered with his classmates from Christine Festin’s Digital Photography class and Justin Defazzio’s Merchandising and Design class on Thursday, May 23, for a surprise unveiling of the winner’s design on the 49-by-15-foot billboard.

“I’m surprised. I didn’t know if I was going to win or not,” Murphy said.

Lamar Graphics chose the winning design and paid the $1,700 cost of producing the billboard’s artwork.

“It’s clean. It’s simple,” Vice President/General Manager of Lamar Graphics Matt Duddy said. “With a billboard design, people driving by you need to have a clean, quick-hitting message that people identify with. I think the image … everybody can relate to at this day and age. Instantly, you’re attracted to that.”

A surprised Murphy, who plans to study graphic design at Alfred University next fall, said the slogan just came to him. Murphy created the iPhone message image in Adobe Illustrator.

“It was the first thing I thought of. I hope it saves lives and helps other people not text and drive,” Murphy said, adding that he makes it a point to not text and drive.

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