Buckle up

Published 7:40 am Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Randolph-Henry High School is one of more than 70 schools across the state participating in a four-week challenge to increase seat-belt usage among youth, according to a press release from Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO)

The program, titled “Save Your Tailgate, Buckle Up,” aims to make wearing a seatbelt a lifelong habit.

The school’s Be Leaders of Our Generation (BLOG) group has organized the program and is working to put events in place, said Karen Osborne, the group’s advisor.

The events are scheduled to occur Monday, Oct. 14.

“Teenagers make many decisions everyday which could have lasting effects on themselves and others,” said Randolph-Henry High School Principal Robbie Mason. He said programs such as this one help young people think through their decisions prior to acting on them and work to reduce the harm which can come from poor decisions.

Osborne said they will be throwing out footballs, hand towels and T-shirts at the next few varsity home football games near halftime, as well as promoting the BLOG club.

During the campaign, she said, seat belt checks will be provided by the school’s resource officer, Andy Colbert, as well as his team of Charlotte County police officers and private detectives

“I will have around 10 students working to complete the surveys on students, faculty and staff who are driving with distractions. We will make P.A. (public address) announcements of what we surveyed and tell students and faculty to correct those issues before we do our post survey,” Osborne explained.

The students will be invited to sign a banner during the campaign. Osborne said they plan to pass out prizes, such as sunglasses, pencils and ink pens, to students and staff who participate.

On Oct. 10, they will begin a raffle sale for a BLOG blanket with tickets selling for $1. The winner of the raffle will be announced during the Senior Night football game.

Additionally, during the week of Oct. 10-14, a daily announcement will be be made each day sharing the statistics of students who have lost their lives due to distracted driving.

The BLOG students are working on creating a small video with Mason and Assistant Principal Christopher Holt to promote the the event.

Throughout the campaign, R-HHS will be competing against other high schools in Virginia.

The program is sponsored by YOVASO, the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office. State Farm Insurance has partnered with the program to provide funding for materials and campaign prizes.

According to the release, schools will be judged on the effectiveness and creativity of their seat belt educational programs, the percentage of students reached and the percentage increase in the school’s seat belt usage rate by the end of the campaign.

Superintendent Nancy Leonard said Osborne is always doing something creative and engaging with her students.

“I appreciate Ms. Osborne and the Randolph-Henry team for all that they do to help prepare our students for life. The R-HHS team goes well beyond academics in providing for a rigorous and well-rounded education for our students,” she said.