Greenville SADD project gets statewide recognition

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:26 am on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Greenville High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) members placed third in the state for their campaign to raise awareness about texting and driving. Pictured, from left, are SADD members Emily Daenzer, Austin McNeal and O’Malley Bosanic holding shirts they made for their campaign. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

GREENVILLE — With texting while driving becoming more popular among high-school students, Greenville’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) stepped up to bring awareness to other students and the community.

Early in the 2011-2012 school year, SADD students were approached by Todd Oatley, assistant high school principal, about texting and driving becoming a big issue. He wanted to see if SADD could focus on the issue to bring awareness to students.

“With technology advances, texting has become an issue,” said O’Malley Bosanic, who will be a senior this coming year.

Soon after, Principal Jeff Wright found a grant for program called Strive for a Safer Drive.

“We only had about a week to put the grant together,” Bosanic said.

The hard work paid off because the group received a $2,000 grant to create a student-led safe driving campaign.

Ford, AAA and Office of Highway Safety Planning sponsored the Strive for a Safer Drive and were impressed with what Greenville brought to the table.

“This group of students worked extremely hard to make a difference in their peer’s safe driving habits and their creativity and drive  throughout the campaign were inspiring to us all,” said Rebecca Gidley, Strive for a Safer Drive project manager in a letter to Superintendent Pete Haines. “Our sponsors … noted that their efforts have set high expectations for schools competing next year.”

The group put together a driving simulation during lunch time and halftime at basketball games for the community and other students to try.

The drivers would have tasks they would have to do while driving such as texting, eating, opening a bottle of water and reaching to the backseat.

This was to show the driver how distracting each task was while driving.

“It was a lot of work for them,” said Hollie Stephenson, 2011-2012 SADD adviser.

The students designed the whole program even making shirts, key chains and a Facebook page to raise awareness.

“It was a good experience,” said SADD member Emily Daenzer, who graduated this year.

In May, the group was able to travel to Romeo where they discovered they placed third in the state through Strive for a Safer Drive.

“I was excited,” said SADD member Austin McNeal, who will be a senior this year.

Bosanic, Daenzer and McNeal explained other schools who had won consisted of a large amount of students from the school. Greenville’s team placed third with just four members.

“Our hard work paid off,” Daenzer said.

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