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Friday, 03 November 2017 05:31

Swift Current SADD chapter wins three provincial awards

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The Swift Current Comprehensive High School SADD chapter with the three awards received at the provincial SADD conference, Oct. 21. From left to right, student advisors Sarah McDonald and Palma Miller, chapter president Jenna Sloman, RCMP school liaison officer Const. Chloe Lentz, and students Atnabon Eticha and Kateryna Zimina. The Swift Current Comprehensive High School SADD chapter with the three awards received at the provincial SADD conference, Oct. 21. From left to right, student advisors Sarah McDonald and Palma Miller, chapter president Jenna Sloman, RCMP school liaison officer Const. Chloe Lentz, and students Atnabon Eticha and Kateryna Zimina.

The Students Against Drinking and Driving (SADD) chapter at Swift Current Comprehensive High School received three provincial awards in recognition of their activities to raise awareness about the consequences of impaired driving.


The awards were presented at the provincial SADD conference in Saskatoon, Oct. 21. SADD advisor Sarah McDonald said it is an honour for the group to receive the awards.
“We have a small chapter at our school, but they work hard to bring awareness to the dangers of impaired driving,” she noted. “So winning the awards definitely help us boost spirits to know that we’re on the right track.”
The group received the Nicole Nakonechny Memorial Award for provincial SADD chapter of the year. The award includes an amount of $1,000. Swift Current SADD also received an Evans Twins Memorial Grant of $500.
“With the two awards that we’ve won we’ve got $1,500 total, and we will use that money to help offset costs to send students to conferences like the provincial conference or the national conference,” she said.
McDonald was the recipient of the third award, the Stan Dyck Memorial Award for provincial SADD advisor of the year.
“It’s humbling,” she said about this award. “I have three other very dedicated advisors who work with our chapter and so it should be all of us who received it. I’m not sure who nominated me, but it’s definitely an honour. I share it with the other three advisors that work diligently with SADD as well.”
She received the award previously in 2003. She has been the SADD advisor at Swift Current Comprehensive High School for 17 years. Her commitment to the activities of the SADD chapter is a result of a desire to support students who want to make a difference in the community, but also has a personal reason.
“I became involved when I moved to Swift Current, because just shortly before that my nephew, when he was 21 years old, was involved in an impaired driving collision in which he was the impaired driver and killed a 21-year old woman,” she said. “So it’s one of those things. It’s a wake-up call that this has to stop.”
For Jenna Sloman, the student president of the Swift Current SADD chapter, it was a memorable moment to be at the provincial conference for the announcement of the award winners.
“I was kind of surprised, to be honest, but it was really cool, especially getting to go up and accept the awards,” she said.
The two-day conference, which started on Oct. 20, included presentations by different guest speakers, for example from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada. A relative of the Van de Vorst family spoke about the accident in early January near Saskatoon when an impaired driver caused the death of all four members of this family, including two young children.
“All the information we got from the speakers were very powerful and it really hit you,” Sloman said. “These people actually go through this and they’re actually standing there right in front of you, and it just makes you want to go out and do more.”
There were some fun activities at the conference and an opportunity to interact with students from other SADD chapters in the province. Sloman was also a member of the SGI leadership team at the conference.
“I think the conference is a really good way to promote our cause and to also let the students have fun and meet other students who believe in the exact same thing that they believe in,” she said.
The size of the Swift Current SADD chapter will vary from year to year, but the group is active and committed to create awareness about the dangers of impaired driving.
“Right now I would say we have probably 10 dedicated students,” McDonald mentioned. “Sometimes we might have more at meetings, sometimes we might have less, but for sure there are 10 dedicated student members. … We are a very small chapter, but the students that are there, are there for the right reason. They’re dedicated, wanting to get out and do these activities.”
The chapter activities during the past year included a number of check stops with the RCMP to raise awareness among motorists to avoid impaired driving.
“In our school we did victim impact statements,” she said. “So we talked to students and staff members within our own school about when they were personally impacted by impaired driving. So they realize it’s not something that just happens to the people that we see on the news or read about in the newspaper. People that we know and see every day have been impacted by impaired driving.”
The students attend provincial and national conferences, and they will host presentations at the school.
“We brought in the MADD Canada presentation last year,” she said. “We try to bring in speakers that we think will impact the students.
The MADD Canada is a good one, because it tells personal stories, but also scenarios that kids face every day, going to parties and not knowing how they’re getting home.”
McDonald believes the efforts of the SADD chapter in Swift Current are making a difference.
‘I think it’s getting through to some,” she said. “I would say we still have a long way to go. We know that impaired driving still happens within our community, but I think actually sometimes it takes something more personal to happen specifically to somebody or somebody in their family to really drive home the fact.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

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