CARLSBAD — Months of work came to a crescendo Friday at Carlsbad High School.
The indie band Echosmith took center stage for a concert as part of State Farm Insurance’s Celebrate My Drive “Drive 2N2” program.
CHSTV submitted an application and 30-second video, and thanks to strategic voting campaign, won $100,000 and the grand prize in a nationwide contest. Along with the check, came the appearance from the band.
“It started with a pitch from a friend from State Farm,” said Doug Green, who oversees CHSTV. “I don’t think when we anticipated this so many months ago, that it would lead to this concert.”
CHS was one of 11 grand-prize winners and the only San Diego County school, along with two other Southern California schools, to qualify for the finals.
The program’s focus was on safe driving and the video centered on two hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
The video began with students introducing their daily news program, which is broadcast to 3,000 students every day, then turns to a driver along the Coast Highway with both hands on the wheel and is capped with 10 seconds of video from a previous driving project with the California Highway Patrol.
With the win, the school must invest at $22,000 toward PSA’s and digital content.
“It’s cool to see the kids have an idea and go forward with it,” Green said. “Our other thing, as a program we got a substantial amount of money and the kids got this concert. There was something in it for everybody.”
State Farm agent Hugh Kollar, meanwhile, sparked CHS’ entry into the contest. He had two kids graduate from CHS and a third currently enrolled.
A staff member suggested CHS as a candidate alerted Kollar to the program. He then contacted Green.
From there, Green and the students went to work. But instead of a “doom and gloom” project, the kids turned it around and produced a more positive message.
“They picked up the ball and ran with it,” Kollar said. “Teen driving is the No. 1 killer of teens. I’ve had two teen drivers, and another one who will have his license in three months, so it’s something that hits close to home with me.
We talk about safe driving and distracted driving. It’s also about being a good passenger in the car when another teen is driving.”
As for the concert, Kollar went on stage to deliver a short speech about the program and the importance of two hands and eyes on the wheel.
Minutes later, Echosmith, a Los Angeles-based band made up of siblings Sydney, Graham, Noah and Jamie Sierota, hit the stage to a raucous crowd.
The band released their breakout hits “Cool Kids” in 2013 and “Bright” on the Talking Dreams album. They reached Nos. 13 and 40, respectively, on the Billboard Top 100 chart and the “Cool Kids” video has more than 62 million views on YouTube.
The rising band also has other hits including “Tell Her You Love Her,” “Come Together” and “Let’s Love.”
Follar said the concert was great for the school and kids who attended. Echosmith, who are not much older than most of the CHS student body, gave interviews and mingled with the students for part of the day.
“It was really fun,” Kollar said. “They are super impressive kids (Echosmith). I was really thankful they were the band involved with this. It was a great day for everybody.”