BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Chain Cohn Stiles has awarded 11 drivers education scholarships to high school students as part of the new Guided Partners in Safety scholarship program. 

The program aims to help students pay for drivers education training while keeping safety at the forefront. Each of the scholarships covers the $319 registration fee for training at the Kern Driving and Training School.

The winners were picked among 150 area high school students who applied for the program. They were chosen based on grades, an essay and financial need. 

The winners are:

Roger Alvarado, Wonderful College Prep Academy; Jennifer Cazarez, South High; Fatima Garcia, Golden Valley High; Jessica Gamino, West High; Mayeli Gutierrez Ibarra, Foothill High; Allan Morales, South High; Leslie Cholico Navarro, Arvin High; Emily Ortiz, Foothill High; Martin Tellez, Highland High; Tiffany Wright, Highland High and Heidi Vega, Mira Monte High. 

The students said in their applications that being able to drive would benefit them in many ways.

“I’ve wanted to get a job … If I could drive, so many opportunities could be available to me,” Gamino said. 

Alvarado said he wants to drive to help his family and prepare for adulthood. 

“Many teenagers underestimate the risk of driving and exhibit dangerous habits,” he said. “By entering driving school I will diminish the risks of danger, assist my family, and become independent.”

Chain Cohn Stiles, which represents Central Valley accident victims, said youth safety is one of its top priorities and that the new scholarship program reflects that. 

“Our goal was to help those in need, and reinforce the importance of talking to teen drivers about the responsibilities, rules and consequences that come with getting behind the steering wheel,” said David Cohn, managing partner and personal injury attorney. “We hope this program will help a little in lowering the sobering statistics locally.”