BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Emotions swept Clarkston High School’s auditorium last week as students listened to speakers from ThinkFirst share their personal stories of traumatic injury, recovery, and the choices they made before and after.
The high school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club hosted the assembly as part of a series of events they organize every year to show students how decisions can seriously impact their lives, especially when it comes to driving.
“Our message is more about distracted driving because car crashes are the number one killer of teens. We want to do everything we can to help prevent that for the kids here at Clarkston High School and also to spread that message within the community,” said CHS SADD Advisor Trisha Carter.
Carter has been the SADD advisor for 10 years and has spent the last 25 years with different student organizations revolving around making good life choices. She’s won an award for the work she’s done to make the roads safer.
The club is also involved with the Strive for a Safer Drive Campaign so many of their events focus on safe driving. This is why they added an event at Clarkston Junior High School for the first time this year, allowing students to try impacted-driving googles during their lunch time, Carter said.
“I feel personally it was highly successful,” said SADD member Meagan Walters, who’s been in the club all through high school. “They were saying how eye opening it was because it is the time when they’re starting driver’s training.”
Walters joined the club when she was going through driver’s training and said it helped her lessons go smoother, especially with her parents. She hopes the club’s efforts make a difference in student lives.
“We’re a bunch of hard-headed high schoolers. We all feel like were invincible, but I’ve definitely talked to a handful of students that have said it definitely made them change their ways and their decisions,” Walters said.
Friend and fellow club member Hadley Smith agreed. Though only her first year in the club, she’s glad she joined.
“Before I joined, these assemblies were great because they gave a lot of information,” Smith said. “It’s not just telling stories – this can happen to you. It’s really beneficial for high schoolers to have things like this.”
The club also hosts state troopers and a driving simulator at boys’ varsity basketball games and has a competition throughout the elementary schools where students submit a drawing of what distracted driving means to them.
Carter said state Rep. Jim Tedder came out to support their activities during the basketball game.
“It impacts them to see faces and to actually hear and see people that have been impacted by choices through driving,” Carter said. “I keep telling the kids if one person makes a different choice and makes a better choice, then we may have helped them save their life or other people’s lives.”
BY JESSICA STEELEY