West Babylon Senior High School student and Students Against Destructive Decisions President Samantha Mammarella is the recipient of the Suffolk County High School Principals Association/Allstate Safe-Driving Award for her determined efforts to raise awareness of distracted driving. She was recently honored for her efforts during the SCHSPA luncheon in April.
Mammarella has been an active member of SADD for the past four years, having participated in the Halloween Party event to encourage safe driving. She and SADD members also draw messages in chalk about safe driving on the high school walls during the annual Chalk Walk. She also assists in the Celebrate My Drive campaign by hanging posters about texting and drinking while driving and obtains pledges from peers and staff not to drink or text behind the wheel.
One additional way in which Mammarella touts the dangers of unsafe driving is by taking a central role of the Grim Reaper, who coordinates the Day of the Dead event. On this day, students are taken out of the class, their faces painted white and their tombstone hung in the hall, to represent an unsafe driving death. The escorting of students out of their classes provides non-participating students with a powerful display of the consequences of drunk driving, SADD advisor Chris Jonasson explained.
“I believe that kids are really starting to see the importance and understand the effects of safe driving,” Samantha said. “We show students that it is not just their life they’re going to impact and possibly save, but many others.”