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WEST SHAMOKIN: Third annual Safe Driving Day activities held at school

by VINCENT PASSERINI, Gazette Student News Reporter on May 02, 2014 11:00 AM

RURAL VALLEY — On April 25, West Shamokin High School hosted its third annual Safe Driving Day.

More than 300 sophomores, juniors and seniors where given an education on safe driving habits and skills that will benefit them and everyone who shares the road. The day was led and organized by Dave Powers, driver’s education and social studies teacher, and Brigitte Kennedy, SADD (Student Against Destructive Decisions) adviser and special-needs teacher.

Powers and Kennedy, along with many students of the WSHS SADD chapter, have been working hard to make this enjoyable and educational day a success. The day consisted of a wide variety of events that provided the students with all kinds of knowledge on driving safe.

[PHOTO: Seniors at West Shamokin High School, from front, Kelsey Altman, wearing BAC goggles; Elle Gandolfi, who is texting; and Anna Skamai, who also is texting, simulated the difficulties of drunken driving and texting and driving during Safe Driving Day, with petal carts brought to the school by The National Guard. (Submitted photo/West Shamokin High School)]

Kiski Township Police enlightened students on what happens at sobriety checkpoints. Students were given the opportunity to climb behind the wheel of a PennDOT plow truck to show the vehicle’s limited visibility. Michael Pearson, Elderton police chief, informed students about their police cars and what they are equipped with. Firefighters from Rural Valley and Dayton were also present with their trucks and equipment to show students. The Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission and Citizens’ Ambulance gave presentations throughout the day.

The National Guard brought along their pedal cars and students drove through a course, first regularly, then went through the same course once with impairment goggles, which give the students the sight of alcohol intoxication, then while texting to see the differences.

At the end of the day, all the students gathered in the auditorium to hear the story of Brandon Hilyer, given by Brandon’s father, Vernon Hilyer.

[Alternate photo, click to view: Sophomores at West Shamokin High School, from left, Hayley Kovach, Ellie Lessner and Kelsie Lipsie, participated in an activity to show what they have learned from their newly acquired knowledge of safe driving. (Submitted photo/West Shamokin High School)]

Vernon is a Clarion man who tragically lost his son at the age of 21 to drunken driving. The day was an eye-opening experience for students and gives them a one-of-a-kind education that will prove to be crucial now and “down the road.”

As the school year draws to a close, West Shamokin becomes a very bustling place. In mid-May, Advanced Placement students will begin taking their AP tests.

On May 21, honor roll students will be treated to an ice cream sundae party for all their hard work throughout the year.

The senior class also has lots of upcoming events. They have decided their class symbols: class flower — the tiger lily; class colors: blue and silver; and class song: “Little Wonders,” by Rob Thomas.

The senior class trip to New York City is also just around the corner; an information meeting is being held later this month.

On May 30, the senior high awards assembly to be held to present students with awards and scholarships they have earned though out the year. Also later this month, the seniors will be having their senior class picnic and baccalaureate, all leading up to the biggest achievement in these seniors’ lives, graduation on June 10.

This will also be the final week that the student articles will be running. It has been my pleasure writing for the paper over the course of the last two years and informing the community of the wonderful activities happening at our school.

I would also like to take a moment to thank my adviser, Laura Breznican, who has helped me in my writings, and Rebecca Singer, editor of the School News columns, for making it possible for me to partake in this program. I would also like to thank all the readers of the School News section and hope they continue as readers during the next school year.

Additionally, I wish the best of luck to my fellow classmates of the Class of 2014 wherever their future endeavors may take them.

In conclusion, I hope that through these articles the community has become aware of the fantastic events, students, and organizations that exist within our schools.

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