(Ocala, Florida 2017) At North Marion High School, students are busy preparing for the 7th annual Drive for Life campaign that will take place March 6–10. Organized by the Student Leadership team and SADD Club, the Drive for Life campaign focuses on driving responsibly and making good decisions when behind the wheel of a car. Students on campus will be able to participate in a variety of activities, including assemblies with guest speakers, interactive booths that focus on the effects of driving drunk and texting while driving, and other activities that emphasize the importance of safe driving.
The student-led facet of the campaign is one of the driving forces behind the success of Drive for Life. Student Government sponsor Sonja Christmas states, “Adults are constantly bombarding students with ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts.’ After a while, it becomes a blur. Drive for Life is different because students are telling other students to stop and be responsible.”
Drive for Life originated in 2010 as students on the North Marion High School campus were grieving the passing of several classmates that had recently died in several unrelated vehicle accidents. The students involved in the Leadership team at that time approached the Administrative team and voiced their rationale for designing a campaign that would educate their fellow classmates about the risks of distracted and drunk driving and hopefully prevent further accidents. Through the continued financial support of Duke Energy and The Marion County Children’s Alliance, the program has been able to grow each year and allows for more activities and more student involvement. The long-lasting effects can be seen each day as students buckle their seat belts as they leave campus and drive safely during their travels.
This year, the student leaders have incorporated the Arrive Alive Tour as part of their focus for the week. Arrive Alive is a health and wellness organization that focuses on positive and impactful student programs for future decision making. A primary focus of the Arrive Alive program is a heightened awareness of the dangers and consequences of drunk or distracted driving. Thanks to the generosity of the local beverage distributor Tri-Eagle Sales, our long-time partner Duke Energy, and the Marion County Children’s Alliance, the students at North Marion High will have a chance to participate in this program.
Brittany Mukadam, Communications Manager for Tri-Eagle Sales, states, “We are committed to working with parents, educators, law enforcement officials, local businesses, and many others to prevent underage drinking. We’re proud to sponsor the Arrive Alive Tour to encourage students to make smart choices, including avoiding peer pressure to drink underage.”
A positive result of the students’ commitment to organizing and implementing the Drive for Life campaign each year at North Marion High is the participation of every high school in Marion County and several high schools in surrounding counties. The students not only learn how to make smart driving choices, but they also learn to make wise lifelong decisions, which is the legacy left behind by those that lost their lives in the vehicle accidents that served as the motivation for the first Drive for Life week years ago.