Class President Opens Seniors Eyes

   On November 3,rd 2006 Jenee Gambrell was killed in a motor vehicle accident on one of Connecticut’s busiest highways, interstate 95.

   The accident happened after Jenee’s best friend and driver of the vehicle looked down to check a text message that she had received from one of her other friends.

   Jenee’s friend had just enough time to look down and read the message before she lost control of the vehicle, crashing, and losing her best friend.

   On Tuesday the 29th Jenee’s mother, Cathy Gambrell came to Woodland to speak about her daughter and the dangers of driving while distracted.

   Gambrell’s visit was arranged as part of senior Sara Hughes’ senior project.

   Hughes project is a campaign against driving while distracted.

   Hughes set up flyers, denouncing the use of cell phones while driving, around the school in order to reach the driving population of Woodland.

   Gambrell’s presentation followed a video produced by AT&T that showed several stories like Gambrell’s.

   The video featured the stories of several high school children and families affected by motor vehicle accidents.

    In each story presented in the video, the family members of the victims knew the exact words of the text message that distracted the driver.

   Most of the messages contained one word; words such as yeah, lol, and where r you were all the types of messages that led to death.

   In Gambrell’s case, she does not know what was in the last message the driver of her daughters car received.

   Gambrell says that that is one of the most painful things about the situation.

   Gambrell’s message is especially directed at those students and young people that aren’t old enough to drive but ride around with their friends.

   “Passengers, always watch your drivers, they hold your life in their hands,” said Gambrell in her presentation.

      The goal of Hughes project is to spread the same message as Gambrell to as many students at woodland as possible in order to make kids stop and think before they start driving while using a cell phone.

   Near the end of her presentation Hughes and several volunteers from Student Council began passing around sheets of paper and information cards with Janee’s story on it.

    The sheets of paper handed out didn’t hold the usual don’t do this or do that.

   It contained an I-Promise Pledge.

   An I-Promise Pledge is a non-legal binding contract, but one that can save the lives of those who sign it.

   The Pledge is a statement that each Woodland Student was asked to sign.

   If they signed it then that meant they had promised to drive responsibly, not drive distracted, and to ask others to take the same pledge to safe and responsible driving.

  The pledge is sponsored and distributed statewide to high risk areas, such as schools, by The Hartford group, News Channel 3, and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association.

   Hughes project was successful in the aspect that her message had gotten out.

   Each senior advisory was called down to the auditorium to attend the presentation.

   Hughes will no doubt receive a fantastic grade on her Senior Project but will also have the added benefit of perhaps saving the lives of her classmates who just might have gotten on their cell phone while driving home from school that day.