Lance Hiltz
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From: Friday, May 29, 2015 1:41 PM -0600
Subject:"Our Choices Do Have an Impact"
Grade ten students from Kelvington High School (KHS), Rose Valley School, and the Nawigizigweyas Education Centre gathered in Kelvington, SK on May 27, 2015 to learn about the hazards of dangerous driving in the annual Preventing Alcohol Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) event put on with the help of emergency and medical services in the Kelvington area. Throughout the day students are toured through replicated events associated with a motor vehicle collision. The annual event is targeted to grade ten students in the area because students in this grade are obtaining their provincial drivers licence, making them susecptible to the hazards of Saskatchewan highways.

The PARTY program began in KHS at 9:00am with a mock 911 call from the crash scene that described a single vehicle rollover with two occupants, one inside and one outside the vehice. Students were then taken to the crash scene, where Kelsey Elmy and Nathan Niezgoda played the role of the two teenagers in the crash. Sirens came on as emergency medical services, the fire department, and the RCMP rolled into the parking lot to assess the damage. Students were challenged to think about how they can make better choices to avoid being involved in motor vehicle collisions. Distractions such as texting, talking, and rowdy passengers all contribute to dangerous driving hazards. The main focus of the event is to teach the students that their choices can change their lives. The choice of putting on a seatbelt and not driving impaired are crucial to the safety of themselves and other drivers on the road. Assessing the crash scene it was soon determined that a young girl was thrown out of the car and pronounced dead at the scene. The young man involved in the crash was severely injured inside the car and was wearing his seatbelt. Statistics show that if a person is wearing their seatbelt while in a motor vehicle collision or accident that survivial rates are upwards of 80%. “By simply wearing a seatbelt you drastically improve your chances of survival” said Trevor Lowey, of Kelvington Mobile Health Services. After the young man was removed from the car and taken to hospital and the young girl taken to the funeral chapel, students were broken into groups that would tour East Central SARBI, Kelvington Hospital, and Narfason’s Funeral Chapel. Each location gave students the chance to reflect on how a motor vehicle collision can change a person’s life in a matter of moments. Hit with the reality of the situation Sarah Jestin of KHS reflected saying “This event really hits close to home, who knows, this could happen to anyone in our community”.

As the day progressed throughout the locations, three key messages were put forward to the students participating; don’t drink and drive, buckle your seatbelt, and make smart choices. “These messages are key to the safety and wellbeing of everyone in our communities, especially our youth.” said Dale Hrytzak, Principal of KHS.

Reflecting on the PARTY program Cass Smith of KHS said “Our choices really do have an impact, everytime we get in our vehicles we have to make the smart choice and be safe on the road, we have to buckle our seatbelt and not drive impaired”. The PARTY program illustrates to students the dangers of driving distracted or impaired and gives them a first hand look at what it would be like if they were caught in a motor vehicle collision or rollover.

As the PARTY program came to a close for another year the students were challenged to think about making smart choices in their lives and protecting themselves against the dangers of driving impaired or distracted. Impaired driving is a reality in our community, province, and country, and we all need to understand that the choices we make every day really do have an impact on the rest of our life.

Cameron Choquette
Co-President/Public Relations Officer
Kelvington High School SRC