Students take stand against drunk driving – Spotlight

Sensitizing drivers – Wm. E. Hay Composite High School students representing Students Against Drinking and Driving took their message to the street on May 19.

JULIE BERTRAND/Independent reporter

A group of resourceful Wm. E. Hay students got a good idea for Students Against Drinking and Driving (S.A.D.D.) week in Stettler.

They went to school on May 19 wearing white makeup on their faces. No, it was not for a belated Halloween party, but rather to call attention to their cause.

“We are supposed to white off another person every five minutes to show how fast people go in the world,” said Brittany Bryce, grade 10 student.

“Pretty much half the school is in this and we’ll keep going through lunch.”

According to Hayley Leschert, an English teacher at the high school, the student volunteers had their faces painted white to represent those who have or will die from drinking and driving. The students couldn’t speak or use their cell phones for the entire school day, as though they were dead. They left school in the afternoon waving goodbye to the rest of the students.

Their action was motivated by the then approaching May long weekend.

“We’re just trying to spread awareness for May long weekend,” said Bryce.

“It’s the number one weekend for drinking and driving in Canada.”

According to statistics the students got from last year’s S.A.D.D. conference, Alberta is the worst province for drunk driving, something that saddens the students.

“A lot of people in our school have lost at least one or two people to drinking and driving,” said Tara Kruk.

“Drinking and driving just doesn’t affect the person who dies, it affects everyone.”

Going around with their faces painted white was not the only S.A.D.D. activity at the school.

On May 16, there was a S.A.D.D. pledge wall where students had the opportunity to post their reasons for not drinking and driving. Students who participated received an orange ribbon as a reminder.

On May 17, Greg Schmidt, Youth Coordinator from S.A.D.D. Alberta spoke to all of the students about how drinking and driving affected him in high school and how he has had to deal with the loss.

On May 18, S.A.D.D. hosted a BBQ for students.

On May 19, the S.A.D.D. students marched as a group after school to the intersection of highway 12 and 56, with signs and cheers, to encourage people to think before they drink and drive. The RCMP was present to ensure safety.

The white makeup garnered students a lot of attention in town.

“In Coffee Tree, everybody was staring at us. People come up and ask us why our faces are white,” said Bryce.

“We thought they were proud that we were doing this. We got some great feedback. “

The students encourage people to think twice before taking the wheel after having drunk alcohol.

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