Wareham resident, ORR student's video on distracted driving reaches national finals

Apr 17, 2018

Old Rochester Regional High School senior Michael Sivvianakis' video on the dangers of distracted driving is making Toyota executives sit up and take notice.

Sivvianakis, a Wareham resident, made the video as part of the Toyota TeenDrive 365 Video Challenge. The challenge is a scholarship competition, meant to help students broadcast the dangers of distracted driving.

Sivvianakis' video focuses on magic—disappearing cars and flames are part of the act, meant to point out that magic can't save you from a car accident.

"I was looking for scholarships, and this one popped up," said the potential civil engineering major. "I'm not really an athlete and I'm a so-so writer, but I've been video editing since about sixth grade. That's something I can really do."

The idea of using magic in his video was a creative idea, Sivvianakis said. No, he's not a magician. "I just noticed that the previous years' winners were all unique, creative ideas, and this one popped into my head."

He has another, more personal reason for wanting to broadcast the dangers of distracted driving. "My grandfather was killed by a teenager on a cellphone nine years ago," he said. "I wanted to contribute to warning about it."

Scholarship awards from first to tenth place are given out in the competition. First place wins a $15,000 scholarship and the chance to work with professional videographers to transform the winning video into a national public service announcement. Prizes run down to tenth place, a $2,500 scholarship.

"I've already received one of the top 10 awards, I just don't know which one yet," Sivvianakis said. "Now's the vote for the People's Choice award, which is an extra $5,000 award."

The People's Choice award is voted on by the public; to vote, visit http://www.teendrive365inschool.com/vote?ceid=3409. Votes can be cast once per day. Voting closes on April 24.

Watch Sivvianakis' video, "Magic Can't Save You" below. Video courtesy: Michael Sivvianakis.