Megan Fallon might only be 11, but she’s already a passionate voice speaking out on the dangers of drinking and driving.
“It’s dangerous. It’s against the law. And you can hurt your family,” she said.
Megan, a Taylor resident and Triboro Christian Academy student, recently got a chance to demonstrate her advocacy when a poster she created was among the winners of the annual student poster contest sponsored by the Lackawanna/Susquehanna Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs in conjunction with the Lackawanna County District Attorney’s office.
Megan’s poster can be seen in billboard form hovering above the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail off East Elm Street in South Scranton. The DA’s office uses the billboards as messages for parents and kids on how to curtail underage drinking.
Megan’s drawing depicts two scenes — a happy one of family and friends enjoying Fourth of July festivities, and a sad one showing a family’s fun upended by drunk driving. Scrolled across the top of the poster are the words: “Don’t Drink and Drive: Make Your Fireworks Fly.”
A few months back, Megan and her family attended a reception at the Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, where she and the contest’s other winners received their awards from Lackawanna County District Attorney Shane Scanlon.
All told, the poster contest included 1,100 entries from 26 Lackawanna County schools, grades 1-12.
“I felt surprised because I didn’t actually think I was going to win,” Megan said of receiving the award. “It felt really good.”
Besides Megan, the other elementary poster contest winners chosen to have their artwork displayed as monthly billboards are: Emily Ferguson, All Saints Academy; Kristina Tranovich, LaSalle Academy; Matthew Tucker; DePaul School; Robert Wall, Carbondale Area; Trevor Balcerzak, All Saints Academy; Marie Takach, LaSalle Academy; Olivia Nepa, LaSalle Academy; Amara Lajoie, Riverside East; Adrianna Hoover, Riverside East; Keira Stofko, Our Lady of Peace; and Christopher Transue, All Saints Academy.
Meanwhile, the prevention messages in the Honorable Mention category will also be featured on monthly billboards. Recipients include: Natalia Mazza, LaSalle Academy; Gabby Price, All Saints Academy; Rogemarie Navarrete, Carbondale Area; Maria Belardi, All Saints Academy; Hanna Curry, All Saints Academy; Emma Egan, All Saints Academy; Alyssa Kelly, Our Lady of Peace; Jenna Robertson, St. Mary of Mt. Carmel; Hannah Moore, Riverside East; Leena Conte, Riverside East; Emma Triano, St. Mary of Mr. Carmel; and Lydia Davis, St. Stanislaus.
Megan drew the picture this past school year while a fifth-grade student at St. Stanislaus Elementary School. Overall, she said, it took her about an hour to complete the pencil and crayon poster.
“It just came to me to draw that. I just wanted to draw the good side and the bad side,” said Megan, an honor roll student whose other hobbies include swimming and taking kung fu lessons at Rothrock’s Kung Fu and Tai Chi in Duryea.
Megan’s family members were equally thrilled by her accolades.
“It’s a great honor. I’m very proud of her,” said Megan’s grandmother, Janet Fallon.
“I was surprised. It completely caught me off-guard since she was competing against students from many other schools,” said Megan’s grandfather, Brian Fallon. “It’s a simple message, but it really hits home. She really gets the message through in great fashion.”