Purdy docu-drama brings tragedy home

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Purdy High School students and staff experienced a devastating tragedy on Friday, Sept. 20, as they observed the death of a fellow classmate, the arrest of another and the injury of several others as a result of an automobile accident caused by drinking and texting while driving. Thankfully, the tragedy was a simulation, and not the real thing, but the docu-drama, sponsored by the Purdy Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapter (FCCLA), was a stark reminder of the realities of distracted driving. Students quietly filed by the simulated scene and then witnessed emergency personnel in action as they responded to the accident. The drama featured Purdy High School students Jesus Perez, Lucas White, Jazmine Rodriguez, Jennifer Hernandez, Dana Cunningham, Ashley Lowery and Stephanie Gaucin. Lea White, Lucas's mom, made a guest appearance as a mother grieving the tragic loss of her son.

Following the docu-drama students attended a special assembly and listened to speakers from various emergency response teams address distracted driving. Students learned that a driver's eyes leave the road for up to four seconds while sending or reading a text. They also watched videos featuring grieving family members who lost loved ones to accidents caused by texting and a young man who will spend the next several years of his life in prison because he caused a fatal accident while texting.

Purdy Police Chief Jackie Lowe, at left restrained Lea White as she encountered the scene of her son's fatal accident during Friday's docu-drama at Purdy High School. Lowe was assisted by Purdy faculty member Jennifer Schallert Cornelius, at right. Submitted photo

Purdy High School Senior Rocio Rodriguez noted, "It was just so sad. Even though I knew the docu-drama wasn't real, I just can't imagine losing my friends like that."

The Purdy FCCLA, sponsored by Purdy High School faculty member Joe Bauer, would like to thank the following organizations and individuals for making an impact on students: Purdy Police Department; Purdy Fire Department; Barry-Lawrence Ambulance District; Purdy City Hall; Barry County Coroner Jim Fohn; West 60 Automotive, vehicle donations; Jason Martin, make-up and impact speaker; Jay Jastal, impact speaker; Nurse Shelly from Cox Air Care Trauma Team, impact speaker; Lea White, actor and Robyn Poyner, Freeze Frame Photography.

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