Garrison Middle School Principal Robert Elizondo (L) and Walla Walla High School Principal Ron Higgins present Jack and Allison Wanichek with their plaques for receiving the Youth Initiative Award from the Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Coalition. This school year, Jack, an 8th grader at Garrison Middle School, and his sister Allison, a senior at Wa-Hi, are serving as student ambassadors for the district’s School Safety Awareness campaign.
They have recorded radio public service announcements, designed posters and created videos to encourage everyone to report safety concerns. They have also used social media and automated message systems to help educate the community about school safety. During National School Safety Week in October, Jack and Allison helped plan several activities to raise awareness about this important topic. Schools shared information during morning announcements, conducted emergency drills and welcomed area first responders to have lunch with students.
This fall Jack created a video utilizing local students to remind youth about the important message: Hear Something, See Something, Say Something. SeaTech instructor Jeffrey Townsend and several of his students captured the video for Jack to edit and produce. Allison recruited students to be in the video and kept everyone on schedule.
Allison designed eye-catching posters in both English and Spanish to reinforce the message. These posters are on display at all district schools. While much of their work has been centered around more traditional school safety concerns, their Hear Something, See Something, Say Something theme also applies to drinking and driving, reckless driving and distracted driving.
“If our youth can have the courage to say something, we can also,” said Nancy McClenny-Walters, who heads the Traffic Safety Coalition. “Let’s all have the courage to tell our friends and family to not drive impaired, slow down, buckle up and not drive distracted.”