Students at Hudson’s Bay High School are learning to resist the lure of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and an equally dangerous behavior—distracted driving.
A prevention club called Above the Influence #Bay, advised by Prevention/Intervention Specialist Susan Peng-Cowan, is teaching their classmates how to adopt healthier lifestyles.
A dozen students have spent the school year taking action. They provided facts about cigarettes and drugs, helped local law enforcement agencies at a prescription drug take-back event and evaluated local retailers’ advertising displays and healthy food options.
Their culminating activity was a campaign to curb texting while driving. “It’s a serious issue, and it needs to be seriously looked at,” said club co-president Brissa Olivarez Garcia.
It’s also an issue that directly impacted the school in 2009, when popular teacher Gordon Patterson was killed by a distracted driver.
While the school’s current students were not enrolled at the time of Patterson’s death, the majority have been affected by the problem. A survey conducted by the club revealed that 77 percent of Bay students have been in a car with a driver who is texting.
With a $500 grant from State Farm, Above the Influence #Bay members created a brochure and posters bringing attention to the issue. One student wrote a poem that was shared during morning announcements; another authored an article on ways to prevent distracted driving.