Northwestern Press

Saturday, January 18, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY ANNA GILGOFFAdviser Martha Larkin (right) and President Ian Remaly say the Students Against Destructive Decisions safe driving day was nothing short of “fantastic.” PRESS PHOTO BY ANNA GILGOFFAdviser Martha Larkin (right) and President Ian Remaly say the Students Against Destructive Decisions safe driving day was nothing short of “fantastic.”
Kayla Rivera take a turn at the simulator guided by Melissa Korpics from the Center for Humanistic Change. Kayla Rivera take a turn at the simulator guided by Melissa Korpics from the Center for Humanistic Change.
Sarah Green joins other students in an interactive activity that involves spinning a wheel. Sarah Green joins other students in an interactive activity that involves spinning a wheel.
Sal Conigliaro was impressed with how the goggles distorted reality. Sal Conigliaro was impressed with how the goggles distorted reality.

SADD sponsors safe driving day at high school

Thursday, April 5, 2018 by ANNA GILGOFF Special to The Press in Local News

In anticipation of spring weather, Students Against Destructive Decisions staged a safe driving day to stress road safety and provide information designed to assist students in making good decisions.

Groups such as the North Central Highway Network, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Valley Youth House and the Center for Humanistic Change were on hand to meet with students in the library.

The event could not have been scheduled at a better time.

“In the spring, we have more kids driving, and it’s prom and graduation time,” said Martha Larkin, the coordinator of SADD who spearheaded the event.

“We’re trying to plant the seed to be safe,” Larkin said.

SADD is committed to arming students with information that will help them avoid the consequences of making destructive decisions such as drinking and driving or drug use.

Raising awareness is one of its principle strategies.

The event was open to any teacher who wanted to participate.

“We had junior seminar classes, physics, math and psychology classes come down,” said Ian Remaly, president of SADD.

Students took turns visiting different stations designed to make them think about their decisions.

They could spin a wheel at the “Don’t Let Alcohol Spin Your Life Out of Control,” which was a kind of takeoff on spin the bottle.

“No matter what, you lose,” Sara Green said.

They could also test their driving skills at one of four simulators or wear goggles that showed how conditions change when driving under the influence.

“Your perceptions are all off,” said Sal Conigliaro, when he put on the goggles. “They just throw you off.”

Remaly said that the simulators “give you different scenarios showing you how [easily] distracted you can get with a phone, for example,” adding that they also “show you how much it would cost if you get into an accident in terms that students understand. It makes it more real.”

“A lot of teachers really like it,” she continued. “We also [had] an alcohol and drug awareness matching game and [provided information] pamphlets.”

Mostly juniors and seniors attended the event.

“There have been way too many students who have had crashes,” Remaly said. “They know how to drive, but a lot of them don’t have the experience that the simulators could supply.”

Remaly provided some historical context for the event.

“We used to do a health fair, but due to the renovations we couldn’t do it, so we ended up in Ms. Larkin’s room last year, where we had a safe driving expo, but it was way too tight, so we realized we needed a bigger space.”

The library was a good solution.

“We’re getting great feedback from [both] students and teachers regarding the space we’re using and the information we’re providing,” Larkin said. “They seem much more open this year. Kids are taking pamphlets and some teachers [actually] coordinated their lessons with the event.”

This is the third year Larkin has pushed for the event.

“It opens the dialogue among peers regarding the choices they could be making,” she said. “It’s not just a game. I hope it has an impact on the kids we scheduled.”