Casey’s College Friend Speaks at Her High School Alma Mater on Distracted Driving
By Brooke Burdge
On Friday, April 27, I had the opportunity to visit my alma mater, Communications High School, in Wall Twp., N.J. to speak to over 150 juniors and seniors on the topic of distracted driving. My presentation was one of over a thousand that took place in April as part of End Distracted Driving’s (EndDD.org) campaign for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
It was a great experience to be able to help educate young drivers on the various issues associated with distracted driving. At the same time, it was challenging, since I knew the reason I was standing at the front of the room was because of my close connection to this topic– that I lost one of my closest college friends, Casey Feldman, as a result of distracted driving.
I opened up the presentations by introducing the campaign and explaining how big of a difference this program is making in just its first year. I then gave the background for the presentation, and described Joel Feldman as the inspiration and told Casey’s story. It was at this point that I showed a few pictures of Casey and I together, and let the students know my connection to this topic.
I was impressed by how focused and engaged the students of CHS were. They actively participated, answering my questions and sharing their stories. CHS is a “magnet school”– a career academy that draws selected students from across the county. Many students have long drives to school and to visit their friends from around the county. I could see this was a topic that resonated with the students.
After my talks, a few students approached me and thanked me for speaking to them. Some expressed their condolences for losing Casey. Two girls even told me how they created their own PSA on distracted driving and recently submitted it into a contest.
The school principal graciously invited me back next year to speak again. I hope to make this April presentation a yearly tradition. By continuing to share Casey’s story and raise awareness of distracted driving, we can help prevent tragedies from happening to others.
EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving)
End Distracted Driving reaches out with safety message (U.S.DOT’s blog article with photos and video of Casey)