For over 24 years, students at Stayner Collegiate Institute (SCI) have maintained an active and passionate campaign to reduce impaired driving by targeting the student body and the local community. This year, the SAID group brought a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) wide-screen presentation to the school in October, offered “dry bars” at school functions and set up displays at events such as their Grade 8 Night.
Initiated after the tragic death on May 5, 1990 of former student Tammy Emerton, the SAID group has had a history of bringing in dynamic speakers, staging mock accident scenes reaching out to the community through meaningful messages on LCBO carriers and bags placed in the stores before the Victoria Day long weekend. As well, the Huronia West OPP and the Clearview Fire Department have consistently supported the students’ efforts.
The work of the SCI SAID group was particularly meaningful this year as they commemorated 25 years since the death of Tammy Emerton. During this SAID Week, the students wrote and read very moving PA announcements, held a homeroom trivia contest and a thought-provoking “Weeping Wednesday” activity. The school also held a very popular annual Bring Your Own Banana (BYOB) Day to create a banana split-making fundraiser.
During the last half of the week and the following week leading up to the school’s prom, a framed picture of a grade 9 student victim of impaired driving, along with the poignant account of his family’s experience, drew attention in the school resource centre. The boy was the brother of SCI teacher Kevin Arnott, staff advisor to the SAID group for the past 20 years at Stayner Collegiate. “I can only hope that others—even one life—may be saved because of his story,” said Arnott.
The work of the SAID group at Stayner Collegiate continues through the month of June. The following events are taking place to honour the memory and legacy of Tammy Emerton twenty-five years after her passing:
- Planting of a magnolia tree on the school grounds as a memoriam to Tammy and other students and staff who have been affected by impaired driving
- Placing of a plaque to pay tribute both to Tammy and to the student leaders of SCI’s SAID group
- Donation of $1,000, raised through various donations and activities in recent years, issued to MADD Canada in Tammy’s memory.
Kevin Arnott, Teacher and SAID Staff Advisor
Stayner Collegiate Institute