Students against Destructive Decisions revitalized at Belchertown High
BELCHERTOWN — Cara Filler was a day short of her 18th birthday when her identical twin sister, Mairin, who was killed in a high-speed car accident. Her sister’s death now forms the core of presentations she makes as one of the country’s top motivational speakers for young people.
Filler will talk to students at Belchertown High School today about the dangers of drunk and distracted driving. Filler was invited by the high school’s chapter of SADD, Students against Destructive Decisions.
As the founder of both the Drive to Save Lives Tour and iSPOKE UP Campaign, Filler has made more than 2,000 presentations to some 2 million students across the United States and in four other countries.
SADD faculty advisor Ginny Bilz said they were lucky to get Filler to come and speak.
“We’ve really revitalized SADD this year,” says Bilz, who became involved with SADD last year. “We’ve raised money for Safe Passage, done a survey of seat belt use at the school, got students to pledge to stop violence against women and brought the Clothesline Project to BHS.”
The Clothesline Project is a program in which students express their emotions about violence toward women by decorating a T-shirt. The T-shirts are then displayed on a clothesline at other schools across the country. According to Gilz, 23 Belchertown juniors and seniors participated in making shirts that depicted their experience with rape and domestic violence.
“We want to make this a biannual event,” Gilz said, referring to both the Clothesline Project and the presentation by Filler.
To prepare for Filler’s presentation, SADD is sponsoring a “white-out” day at the high school on Monday. Over the course of the day, 15 students will “white-out” their faces with white paint and stop speaking for the rest of the day. These students represent people killed that day in drunken and distracted driving accidents.
The hour-long presentation will begin at 9 a.m. in the school auditorium. Afterward, the students will meet in advisory groups composed of 13 to 15 students and a faculty member to talk about the presentation.