Having an aunt pass away from a distracted driving incident 16 years ago, Badger High School student Tessa Blumer has a personal connection to the subject of distracted driving. She and fellow Badger students Emma VonEnde and Kennedy Truscinski wanted to do an FCCLA project centered on the topic, one called “Ghost Out.” The Badger School Board approved this project at its December 11 meeting, giving the students the go ahead to move forward with the project some time in the spring.
These three students approached administration first– Superintendent Tom Jerome and Dean of Students Stacey Warne– with this idea, for support and planning advice. Although the three students will lead the project, Jerome and Warne will be involved to ensure that this project’s activities are a “good fit” for the Badger District and its students, Jerome explained.
“If done right, which it will be done right by these students, it is highly likely to evoke some very strong emotions with some students and some families,” Jerome said. “And the goal is to educate people about the dangers and perils associated with distracted driving.”
How will this “Ghost Out” project achieve this goal? The three girls would head this distracted driving program aimed at teenagers. They would present facts related to teenager drivers, including the hazards and consequences of driving a vehicle under the influence, the importance of wearing seatbelts, and any types of distracted driving.
“Traffic crashes are the number one killer of teens and one-third of teen traffic deaths are alcohol-related nationwide,” Blumer said.
As part of this program, Blumer explained, a guest dressed as the “Grim Reaper” will walk the hallways of the school and select nine victims. These victims are declared as having passed away, representing the national average number of people who die in a distracted driving-related crashes during a school day.
The climax of this program is the assembly during the last half hour of school on a Friday, the last day of the program. Also as part of this program, guest speakers will address the dangers of driving while impaired. At the assembly, a memorial service is held for the nine victims.
“This is a very emotional and powerful program with a strong impact on the students,” Blumer said.
As part of this program, these girls would also create obituaries for these nine student victims. When selected by the ”Grim Reaper,” these students would wear white face paint and a black shirt, to represent that they have passed away. The “Grim Reaper” would take selected students out of their classes for five minutes to paint their faces and put on their shirts. The students would then be sent back to their class to continue with the rest of their day. These students can’t speak and others can’t talk to them.
Also as part of the program, a lieutenant from the Minnesota State Highway Patrol agreed to put on a presentation some time during the week of the project titled, “Gone Too Soon,” to educate students about the perils of distracted driving. Blumer also plans to tell her story, as part of the program effort.
To see the complete story on this project, read the December 27 issue of The Tribune in print or online.