VIP for a VIP

Meagan Gutheil, Editor-in-Chief

Over the past years, teenage drivers are being hurt and even killed at increasing rates. To prevent this from happening to more teenagers, our community has taken it upon themselves to create a program called VIP for a VIP (Vehicle Injury Prevention for a Very Important Person). This incredible program hosted an event at our school on October 17th. During second period, juniors and seniors met in the auditorium for a presentation. One of the most moving parts of the presentation was from Suzie Simmons whose son, Justin, was tragically killed in a car accident. Her story tugged at the students’ heartstrings and allowed them to have more of an understanding as to how real this is. Another memorable moment was from Jan Paladino, Guilford County EMS, about how she is the one that has to break the bad news to the people in her care. She is the one who has to answer questions like “Is my friend dead?” or “Am I going to die?” She implored the students to be careful while driving because she doesn’t want to be the person to have to say yes to either of those questions. The other speakers during the morning presentation were Bobby Bulls (VIP Director), Greensboro Fire Assistant Chief Dwayne Church, Greensboro Police Officer Andy Reed, NC Wildlife Officer Phillip Griffin, and SHP Trooper Chris Knox. They each shared their own first hand accounts of tragedies in hopes that the students would become safer drivers. Students returned to their classes in tears.

During fifth period, students headed behind G Wing to sit in bleachers that the program had set up. Once everyone was seated, the afternoon session began. A few people spoke including the VIP Director before the car crash demonstration began. The VIP team took the sheet off a large figure in the middle of the parking lot to reveal a “dead boy” in a wrecked car. Shock was written on everyone’s face and the parking lot was quiet for a minute or two until someone began to narrate the boy’s thoughts. First responders began to show up and tore apart the car to get to the boy. They began giving him CPR when a small car pulled up. A horrified mother came sprinting to her son’s lifeless body with a grief stricken father not far behind. Screams echoed through the parking lot as she was told that he was gone. He was taken off in the ambulance as a group of students set up a cross in remembrance. The parents gathered around the cross in tears as the rest of the first responders exited. There were even more tear stained faces than in the auditorium. Soft sobs could be heard at each end of the bleachers.

The most surprising part for the students was what the director said before he left. He said that the picture of the boy from the beginning presentation that was killed was his son. Many of the students lost their composure, sobbing uncontrollably. Overall, the program was a huge success in not only being extremely informative but also being so influential and effective. Drive safely Pirates and always remember VIP for a VIP!