TUSCOLA, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A group of seven students from Jim Ned High School have won an Abilene-area TXDOT competition designed to raise awareness about distracted driving and pedestrian safety in Texas.

There were 17 area schools that participated for first, second, and third prizes of $2,000; $1,500; and $1,250, respectively.

The Jim Ned senior parents suggested the students enter to win money for the seniors’ upcoming project graduation.

“I said, ‘I think I have some great kids in class. We could do it, have an entry and possibly earn some money for our project graduation,'” says senior parent and Jim Ned theater teacher Brandee Hart.

Hart says she’s proud of the way her theater students came together and she mostly let them take the lead, only stepping in to redirect when needed.

“It was some great real world experience for them because they had to work as a team,” Hart says.

Seniors Trinity Powell and Colin Hayward were the video’s director and editor. They say that though the $2,000 dollar prize was pretty good motivation, they’re also coming out of this with some new skills.

“I mean, there was a lot of pressure because we wanted it to be good, but it wasn’t scary, it was fun experiencing it with all these people and making it our own,” Powell says.

“I was interested in video editing a little bit and then we did this and I became even more interested in it,” says Hayward.

Their video will now go on to state competition, where they will have a chance to win $8,000.

“They were really surprised that they won in the first place, so just the fact that we get to represent the Abilene area is an honor,” says Hart.