Lakota East senior Sarah Strack knows firsthand the devastation that distracting driving can cause as her 45-year-old uncle, Mark Sevilla, was killed by a driver who was texting. Loss and the hope to prevent others from going through a similar tragedy led her to spearhead the school’s “Hawks Drive to Stay Alive” campaign.
During the week-long program, Sarah and her mother, Kathy Strack, shared how distracted driving has impacted their family, especially appropriate for student drivers.
In addition to the presentations, students had the opportunity to take part in a driving simulator that shows them just how dangerous texting and driving can be. Keychains with the “Hawks Drive to Stay Alive” motto were handed out as a visual reminder to stay safe, courtesy of the school’s PTSO. And National Honor Society members wrote and posted notes on every locker, helping to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving.
A parents meeting was also held, which focused on the role parents and guardians have as role models.
“We wanted parents to consider their influence on their student driver and to dialogue with their child throughout the week, regarding the distracted driving events,” explains Davis. “As parents we have the biggest impact by being good role models and refraining from using our cell phones while we are driving. As adults we must remember that our students are watching us......what do they see?”
To conclude the event, students had the opportunity to sign the "Hawks Drive To Stay Alive" banner pledging their commitment to avoid distracted driving.
Sarah is so committed to spreading the word, she has also formed a non-profit called "2 eyes, Just Drive." The organization works to educate all drivers - not just teenagers - about the dangers of distracted driving.
“There are many people who helped make this campaign a reality,” states Sarah. “Without their support, we would not have been able to so successfully reach the students with this crucial message.”
Strack noted thanks to: the administration and staff of Lakota East; Barb Goff for the banner; Liz Lyons and the Ohio Department of Transportation for lending the driving simulator; Steve Silberberg and Omni Printing & Promotions; Butler County Safety Council for donating magnets.
“I also thank our family and friends who have been there to hold us up through this journey,” added Sarah. “And we also thank the Boone County Sheriff and Prosecutor’s Office for making sure justice was served. If we can prevent another family from going through it, it’s worth the effort of sharing the dangers of distracted driving.”