The Mountain Times

°F Sun, April 20, 2014

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Act Out Loud contest inspires community rall for traffic safety

RUTLAND - May is Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, a time when the National Youth Safety Organization (NYSO), and its 70 national nonprofit organizations, work with youth groups to engage in traffic safety projects in their local communities. To encourage participation, NYSO sponsors a contest with a grand prize of $10,000, called Act Out Loud.

Participants must host a safety rally, design T- shirts and posters and, most importantly, film their rally. The contest is open to any high school or junior high school in the country which puts the number of potential competitors in the tens of thousands. But those odds didn't phase, Stafford Technical Center's SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) chapter as they came in second place last year during a similar contest. With that experience behind them, the students were confident they can put together a winner this year.

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THE RALLY
Stafford Technical Center's SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) chapter hosted a Youth Highway Safety Rally in the Home Depot parking lot in Rutland last weekend. The turnout was great considering the wet weather that arrived later in the day, organizers said.

The rally included the culinary team from Stafford cooking food. "If we judge by the amount of food we gave away, we must have had about 1,000 people come through today," said SADD advisor John D'Esposito. The Stafford music program also provided a soundtrack for the day.

The rally featured interesting interactive activities and demonstrations as well as speakers.

One of the favorite demonstrations was the fire department's 'jaws of life' which opened up a minivan like a can of sardines.
There was also a dramatic simulation of what it is like when the occupants of a car, not wearing safety belts, roll over in their vehicle - they fly out of the windows.

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Local law enforcement groups were also there showing off technology like driving simulators and roadside DUI detection devices. Other groups were present with literature about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

A popular interactive event was the texting while driving course that the public could attempt. Attendants got behind the wheel of a golf cart and tried to navigate a course lined with cones. Each of those cones represented a person or an animal and, needless to say, there was a lot of cone-carnage.

Dylan Goad, a member of the Stafford Video Media Program and the team's videographer, said "I got some pretty good footage today. I joined this program because I recognize the importance of good decisions." Another student, Joel Galvin, said "I am in the Public Safety Services Program at Stafford and it was important to me to help make this rally a success. After school, I hope to become a police officer so this is an experience I can use. I hope to do work in youth prevention when I am an officer," he said.
The rally was a success for the community, now they'll have to wait to see how it compares to others nationwide to know if they're the recipients of the grand prize money.

Photos by Nathan Allen