LAKE PLACID - Lake Placid Middle/High School students kicked off a rally Monday, May 5 to warn their peers against distracted driving.
The Act Out Loud rally was part of the Arrive Alive Safety Campaign, held at the school from Monday to Friday with different activities planned throughout the week.
It is sponsored by the Lake Placid/Wilmington Connecting Youth and Communities Coalition and the Lake Placid Central School District. CYC is a group that aims to build and sustain a community that encourages healthy decisions. Tina Clark, CYC coordinator, led the events.
"Today is about reminding students, parents and the community, we need to have a discussion about safe driving," Clark said.
In November, new state regulations began targeting distracted young drivers. Young and new drivers convicted of texting while driving will have their license suspended for 120 days on the first offense and for a full year on the second offense. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, 3,328 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving distracted driving.
The rally began at 10:30 a.m. Monday with students taking part in the "Power Wall." Students put pieces of colored duct tape on various posters if the messages on those posters have affected their lives. Some of the messages included "I have been in a car crash," "I know someone who was hurt in an accident due to distracted driving," "I know someone who was hurt in a car accident due to alcohol or marijuana," and "I acknowledge it is a bad idea to be in a car with an impaired driver."
Junior Chris Williams and Sophomore Nzoni Thompson were sporting Act Out Loud T-shirts. The two are student coordinators of the event.
"We attended a youth leadership convention," Williams said. "It was a lot of fun. We did group projects to try to solve problems."
Clark said the goal is to have students take the lead as the program grows, while having the adults in the program take a guidance role. This year eight student leaders, in grades 9 through 11, will attend a conference sponsored by Communities Anti-Drug Coalitions of America in Orlando, Florida.
In the afternoon, 170 students, sixth through 12th-graders, took to the Olympic Oval. They were supposed to write safe-driving messages in chalk on the oval's concrete surface, but wet weather made that impractical. WSLP radio DJ Paul Varga played music for the event, which will be videotaped for submission to the nationwide Act Out Loud video contest. Around 700 schools in America are participating, and the winner will get $10,000.
CYC has already been awarded $1,000 that helped fund the rally on Monday. Also at the rally were the Lake Placid Police Department, state police, Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department, village Mayor Craig Randall, Deputy Mayor Art Devlin and school board President Mary Dietrich, who cooked hamburgers and hot dogs during lunchtime.
Students also took part in the MADD Power of Youth online safety pledge, promising not to drink alcohol before age 21 or use other drugs, and not to get in a car with someone who has been drinking alcohol. On Friday, a seat-belt safety check was conducted in the morning at the student parking lot.