WVHS earns state safety award

THSO honors teen safety awareness at school

By ALLEN MINCEY allen.mincey@clevelandbanner.com
Posted 5/24/17

Walker Valley High School is one of four schools across the state to receive the Gold Traffic Safety Award from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, which was presented at the school on …

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WVHS earns state safety award

THSO honors teen safety awareness at school


Walker Valley High School is one of four schools across the state to receive the Gold Traffic Safety Award from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, which was presented at the school on Tuesday.

The school was rewarded for its efforts in promoting teen traffic safety awareness and education, the SADD (Students Against Distracted Decisions) program, which helped the school earn 3,925 points through the THSO’s Reduce TN Crashes program.

This is the highest total gained by a first-year school in the program and led to the honor. Walker Valley High School has earned a total of 3,925 points through the Reduce TN Crashes program, achieving the highest amount of points this year.

Activities completed include displaying traffic safety messages, attending awareness events, sharing the message of traffic safety with your peers, and hosting schoolwide events which include community involvement that incorporates many local and state partners.

“You have set the goal for other high schools across the state, but also, you’ve set the goal across your community,” said Fred Sherrill, Cumberland Tennessee Law Enforcement Liaison for the THSO.

“Safety is one of our priorities in Bradley County schools, and in our county and the state,” added Bradley County Schools Director Dr. Linda Cash. “Our students have gone above and beyond with their efforts that they want to make accidents involving teen drivers less frequent.”

Those efforts, along with others involving other schools and working with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, have helped Bradley County move from the “Top 10” list of counties in Tennessee with the most teen-related motor vehicle accidents.

“It makes it so much easier when we are all working together, and can pass that knowledge down to other students to promote safety on the roads,” she added. “Without adults interacting with children, things like this do not happen.”

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson said he feels honored to have his agency recognized for working with the teachers and students at the school in promoting traffic safety among teens.

“What you have done this past year has had a big impact on Bradley County,” he said. “You have helped us reduce wrecks [involving] young people ... throughout the county, and that is a blessing, and thanks to you.”

Julie Strike, state coordinator for Students Against Destructive Decisions, told the students and SADD coordinators at the school that she was pleased to be able to attend the award presentation.

“Thank you for making a difference in the community,” Strike said. She presented a gift card to the Walker Valley High School SADD chapter, through the program’s connection with State Farm, that the chapter may use to help promote teen driving safety in the future.

All WVHS representatives said they were proud of the hard work performed by the students in the SADD program.

“For this to be a first-year initiative, the students really grasped it. The teachers, Ms. (Jessica) Stone and Ms. (April) Richards, have found opportunities for the students to get involved, and our big mock crash was the talk of students for days afterward,” said WVHS Principal Nat Akiona.

Both Richards and Stone said they were also very proud of the students involved in the SADD chapter at the school.

“We are really proud of them, because the SADD chapter is a student-led program, and everything that we have done has been led by these students,” Stone said. “We didn’t drag them around telling them what to do — all the activities that we did, they wanted to do, and they wanted to get our there and stress teen driving safety to their peers. They have truly led the charge.”

“They showed great initiative and you could tell they had a passion for helping as much as they could,” Richards added. “We are really very proud of them.”

The award was presented with several students in attendance, including members of the SADD chapter, along with faculty at the school. There were also members of the BCSO in attendance, several of whom had made presentations throughout the year to the SADD chapter and other Walker Valley students.

Also speaking at the presentation were Beth Vernon, program manager for Tennessee Highway Safety Office, and Stephanie Scarborough, manager for Reduce TN Crashes.


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