“The Last Text” Presentation

Each Wednesday, students discuss something different in homeroom. In the past month, academic s and career planning were featured frequently, but on November 2nd, discussion took a more somber turn when students talked about the dangers of texting while driving.

At the beginning of homeroom, students texted in to an online poll regarding their opinions on texting while driving. (See below.) This was followed by a ten-minute documentary produced in 2010 by AT&T about the dangers of texting while driving. After viewing this, students were asked to complete some of the same questions feature in the poll they took prior to the video, to see if their opinions had changed.

Whether or not students’ individual opinions were changed by the documentary, it definitely created a more subdued atmosphere in the classroom. “When we were taking the polls, people were joking around and it wasn’t something that was taken very seriously,” said senior Ellen Jegen, “but when we watched the video… people got really serious.”

The opinions of some, like senior Matt Fete, were unchanged. Fete remarked, “I already think texting and driving is stupid so it didn’t really change my outlook on it.” However, many other students did change their minds as to how dangerous it is to text and drive. “It let people know what it’s like to text and drive and risk your life,” commented freshman Camille Woodward. Junior Dakota Koalowski agreed, adding that she won’t text and drive again because “If you text and drive, what happened in the video can happen to you.”

This epiphany was exactly what those involved in planning the program were hoping for. “We realized that texting while driving is a concern, especially for young people,” said School Resource Officer Doug Braun, adding that he felt the visual aspect of the presentation was very effective—“It was a powerful, very convincing video.” The interactive aspect of the poll also allowed students to become more involved in the presentation. Even better, the software didn’t cost West a thing. Along with social studies teacher Chris Lazarski, Officer Braun wrote and received a $400 grant from the Wauwatosa Neighborhood Watch Steering committee that paid for the software necessary to create the poll.

Homeroom Committee member and social studies teacher Andy Zietlow admitted that the presentation was not going to stop everyone from texting while in the process of driving. “We hope that it had an impact on everyone,” he said, “but even if we changed one person’s mind I think we succeeded.”

Please watch the following video:

Reporter: Ellyn Kirtley