SADD hosts anti-drunk driving assembly for juniors

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Every 79 seconds someone is killed or injured in a drunk driving crash. 

The Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club held their annual assembly April 10 to raise awareness for drinking-related car accidents and share eye-opening statistics like the one above. Juniors, who are still at the beginning of their driving journey, were confronted with the sobering realities of drinking and driving. The event aimed to raise awareness about the dangers associated with this reckless behavior and to encourage responsible decision-making among young drivers. 

Junior Harlee Ross, president of SADD, began the ceremony with a speech about the club and what the assembly’s purpose was. “The aim of [the] assembly was to bring awareness and help educate Heritage students about the dangers of drunk and impaired driving,” Ross said. “My brother, Harrison Ross, founded the SADD club and I’m honored to keep it going and teach my peers about making smart choices. It is truly impactful and heartbreaking to hear the victims’ stories, and I want to spread the message that these are 100% preventable crimes.” (Photo/Zoe Horwitz)

Speakers included representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Bree Ann Camacho, who shared a personal and heartbreaking story about her first-hand account with a driver under the influence of alcohol. At 16 years old, Camacho was driving with her dad and sister when a car going over 100 miles per hour crashed into them. She and her dad both survived, but her 13-year-old sister Kaely unfortunately did not make it. “I remember that all I could say was ‘my sister, my sister,’” Bree Ann Camacho said during her speech. “In the hospital, after she’d passed, my mom asked me if I wanted to see the body…I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t…when I went in, I was in a state of shock with my jaw dropped. My mom noticed this state of shock and encouraged me to kiss her goodbye,” Camacho said. 

“I always knew drunk drivers on the road were dangerous, but I didn’t realize how much of an impact they really had. The assembly, especially Bree Ann’s story about her sister, really touched my heart. I’m very grateful to have experienced this event,” junior Maliha Daya said.

To continue raising awareness, the students were then brought outside to watch first-hand how the Plantation Fire Department deals with collisions. The firefighters slowly totaled the car, demonstrating step by step how they take off each car part and get any bodies inside of it out.  (Video/Emma Colarte Delgado)

As the next generation of drivers, juniors were encouraged to take the lessons learned to heart and to make informed choices that prioritize the safety of themselves and others on the road. (Photos/Emma Colarte Delgado and Zoe Horwitz)

What can you do to help? Check out the MADD website for information on how to be a difference maker. Students, look into joining SADD. “The SADD club helps support MADD’s events, including the Walk Like MADD Fort Lauderdale Dash 5k on April 28 and other fundraising activities. The SADD club meets every two weeks online, where we discuss upcoming volunteer events and plan bake sales/candy sales to help raise money at the school. We need volunteers, runners and walkers for the coming event. Community service will be provided,” President Harlee Ross said.  

Zoe Horwitz, a junior at American Heritage, returns to the Patriot Post for her third year as the Sports Editor and Assistant Editor-In-Chief. Besides reading and writing, she spends her time playing with her dog or tutoring younger students through Learn with Peers, a non-profit organization she helped found in 2020. During her freshman year, she co-founded FALIA (Food Allergy/Intolerance Awareness) at school, a club that advocates for those with food allergies. Zoe also plays lacrosse, as she plays for a club team and American Heritage girls varsity lacrosse team. Zoe is very excited to be contributing to the Patriot Post.