Benton Hoskison is the winner of the David McKenzie Teen Drinking and Driving Scholarship awarded by McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. The law firm created the $2,500 scholarship for the student who makes the best public service announcement (PSA) to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Hoskison, a student at Texas Wesleyan University and aspiring fitness business owner, will use the award toward his tuition for a bachelor’s degree in business management.
Teen Drinking and Driving Is an Issue in Hoskison’s Community and Throughout the U.S.
Hoskison shares the law firm’s concern about underage drinking and many people’s dangerous decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated.
“Alcohol isn’t just illegal for teenagers to consume—it can be a deadly combination when young drivers choose to drink and drive,” he writes in his scholarship essay.
In addition to noting that thousands of underage drivers die in drunk-driving accidents every year, per the Centers for Disease and Control Center and Prevention (CDC), Hoskison also highlights the reasons some teens drink alcohol, which doesn’t always involve fun. Some are self-medicating to deal with mental health disorders, such as depression. “When faced with depressive problems, teens often feel that they have no one to talk to and no other options,” he explains.
He sees firsthand in Texas how teen drinking affects his peers and community. He shares that people in the state under 21, the legal drinking age in the U.S., can access alcohol at some clubs that serve patrons 18 years old and up. Some will partake in alcohol and ultimately risk drinking and driving, he says.
“Although it is illegal to serve anyone under the age of 18, many of my friends who are between the ages of 18 and 21 still receive drinks from other patrons. This is a concern because the risk they take not only with their own lives but with the lives of others on the road could mean someone loses their parent or child.”
Hoskison says he learned while growing up that safety comes first, and the value of life is a priority. He keeps in mind a story his mother told him about two of her friends who left a club after a night of drinking and later died in an accident. “The effect it still has on her as she recalls the moments immediately following the accident and the days that followed are enough to impact my decisions,” he says.
How Parents and Teenagers Can Address Underage Drinking – Together
Hoskison shares in his essay some ways teenagers and adults can address teen drinking. Since many teens remain quiet as their peers drive under the influence, Hoskison says young people must feel empowered to speak up. Their silence can be deadly.
“Teaching young adults to speak up and say something is the first step to decreasing risky behaviors,” he writes. “Young adults need to understand it is not only acceptable but safer to stand up and engage in safe behaviors.”
Teens and Adults Can Make the Rules Together
Hoskison, who credits his mother as his biggest inspiration, supports parents and teens jointly setting rules and boundaries that can help both groups tackle serious issues. These issues include underage drinking, mental health, and other social issues affecting young people.
“Parents often establish rules for their teens rather than with their teens. When young adults are included in the rule-making process, they are more likely to own and understand the rules. Rather than rebelling against rules established for them, they accept and follow the rules they helped to create.”
He also urges parents to connect with their teenagers as parental involvement can affect how their teens behave and their decisions. “Feeling supported by parents who actively involve teens in the decision-making process are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and make better choices.”
Hoskison Promotes Health and Wellness and Plans to Own a Fitness Business
As Hoskison pursues his business degree studies, he also focuses on personal fitness and wellness, which he says is his passion. In addition to taking marketing, business development, law, and ethics classes, the student-athlete plays on the university’s football team and serves as a student coach. He works with athletic trainers and assistant coaches and plans to use his experiences to help his career.
“Working as a student coach will allow me advanced opportunities to implement and develop my knowledge in personal training for student-athletes, injury prevention, and injury recovery, he says.
Helping Others Reach Their Fitness Goals Is Among Hoskison’s Goals
After he finishes his studies in two years, he wants to open a gym that offers strength training to help young people reach their fitness goals. “I would love to be able to run fitness camps for young athletes and work one-on-one with individuals. Additionally, I plan to be a master trainer and teach others to become fitness coaches.”
He goes on to say, “I am studying business to learn how to develop a successful, sustainable business in the fitness industry supporting youth athletes as well as adults to reach their fitness goals. I plan to acquire as much knowledge and experience as possible working with other trainers before reaching my personal goal of running my own fitness business.”
McKenzie Law Firm, P.C.’s Teen Drinking and Driving Prevention PSA Scholarship
McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. congratulates Benton Hoskison on receiving its Teen Drinking and Driving Prevention PSA Scholarship, which it awards annually. The scholarship is open to all students enrolled in an accredited college or university. Applicants must be in good academic standing with a GPA of 3.0 or above. They will write an essay about why they believe some teenagers continue to drink and drive despite awareness of the dangers of this reckless and deadly behavior.
To learn more about the scholarship, including the application deadline and other information, click here.