The Victoria Day long weekend served as the launching pad for Bow Valley High School’s (BVHS) chapter of Students Against Drinking and Driving (SADD) Alberta.

The initiative, which aims to empower youth to take a stand against impaired driving, began in 1990 but has only recently made its way to Cochrane. Spurred by the December death of Cochrane High School student Brandon Thomas, the BVHS chapter is hoping it will get the young people in the community to raise awareness for the fight against drunk driving.

Students assisted the local Integrated Traffic Unit with an hour-long checkstop along southbound Highway 22. Coupled with representatives from Cochrane’s relatively new branch of MADD, the students spoke to drivers and tied red ribbons to antennas — all in the name of discouraging impaired driving.

“Our goal is to get as many red ribbons as we possibly can on as many vehicles as we can,” said Melissa Dark, a representative of the Cochrane MADD branch.

“This is really about raising awareness about drinking and driving,” said Azthrid Milne, a Grade 12 student at BVHS and member of the SADD group. “Especially with the long weekend, we want to urge everyone to be cautious.”

The students from BVHS were joined along the highway by a few students from other local schools, along with family and friends of Thomas, who was killed in a collision with a suspected impaired driver in December.

“Brandon would have been out here doing this for me if I had been the one in that car,” said Kayla Thomas, Brandon’s older sister, who was invited to attend the checkstop along with family friend Bryanna Green.

The SADD launch kicked off the morning of May 15 with a presentation for Grade 11 and 12 students from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), a not-for-profit organization that aims to stop impaired driving and support the victims of the crime.

“The hope is to get students talking about impaired driving — not just in high school, but throughout their entire lives,” said Rahul D’cunha, MADD’s school outreach coordinator. “If we save a life, this initiative will be worth it.”

D’cunha said the assembly-style presentation, which included stories from real-life victims of the violent crime, is directed at youth in Grades 7 through 12.

To become involved with SADD, visit

Source: Cochrane Eagle



Last updated on: 2013-05-27 | Link to this post