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Friday night lights-up Aware Awake Alive

Austin High School honors alumni Carson Starkey with donation toward alcohol awareness

AUSTIN, Texas – Austin High School’s September 14 game against Cedar Ridge may have ended in a loss for the Maroons, but victory went to Austin-based nonprofit Aware Awake Alive, created in memory of Austin High alumnus Carson Starkey to raise awareness of alcohol poisoning in young people.

Friday night’s game was dedicated to Aware Awake Alive, and culminated in a half-time presentation of a check in the amount of $2,635 by Coach Mike Rosenthal to the organization. These dollars were raised by the Austin High Ambassadors Club, the first ever high school student organization dedicated to the mission of Aware Awake Alive.

“Austin High is proud to be a part of this campaign,” said AHS Ambassador parent Shannon Dowell, who helped organize the club. “We are honored to host the first ever Aware Awake Alive Ambassadors club, and so excited to have raised these dollars to help educate our kids about the dangers of alcohol poisoning, before it’s too late.”

Throughout the week leading up to the game, the Ambassadors blanketed the school with information on Aware Awake Alive. They donned t-shirts every day, displayed posters, and showed a PSA during announcements on Monday’s KAHS-TV. A banner was displayed during Friday’s pep rally, and Ambassadors were on hand at the game Friday night, handing out literature and collecting donations. Cheerleaders tossed t-shirts, caps and wristbands into the stands during the game, and game night emcee Jimmy Balagia shared quick facts about alcohol poisoning during his commentary. The Austin High efforts will be used to build the framework for a National High School program.

“Aware Awake Alive is very much alive on the Austin High campus,” said Scott Starkey, founder. “The Ambassadors and their families should feel very good about what they have accomplished in such a short time. This program is just the beginning, and I know we will see it grow fast.”

Aware Awake Alive was created in 2009 by Scott, Julia and Hayden Starkey, after their 18-year-old son and brother, Carson, died from alcohol poisoning during a fraternity hazing incident involving binge drinking, during his freshman year at Cal Poly. Its mission is to equip youth and their communities with the tools and confidence to prevent lives lost from alcohol poisoning. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 80,000 people per year die from alcohol poisoning. For more information, visit, or to implement the high school program, email

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