High School Students Use Poetry to Highlight Dangers of Distracted Driving

A slam poem by students of Manitou High School encourages everyone to “Look Up”

Public Service Announcements, billboards, and bracelets have all been used to encourage drivers to stop looking at their cell phones. But five Manitou Springs High School students are using a different approach: they wrote a slam poem to get the message across.

“Everything today is an instant.

Text messages, electrical synapses.

Every point a to point b distance

Happens in the blink of an eye,

But ten minute car rides

Can stretch endlessly.

Forgot to protect my ears

From the cold.

There is no autocorrect here.”

Isabel Dufford (12th grade), Daisy Erickson (12th grade), Aubrey Hall (9th grade), Hannah Kimmett (11th grade), and Carter Sandras (12th grade), are members of the Manitou Springs High School slam poetry team. The five of them were approached by their school’s student council about possibly writing a slam poem for the Drive Smart Colorado High School Traffic Safety Challenge. So, the “slammers” sat down to write. They began with the topic “be home in ten”. What resulted is a powerful appeal from five different perspectives of reasons why people think it’s okay to send a quick text.

“We have learned that one simple word can take your life,” said Carter Sandras. “Every decision we make has an impact on someone else and to drive distracted is just not smart. We have also been amazed by the response to the group slam and how it’s impacting people!”

“I first heard the poem when the five students read it out loud at a parent night,” said Maile Gray, Executive Director of DRIVE SMART COLORADO. “I was so moved by the words, passion and also the time they spent really thinking about how they were going to read it.” For this contribution during the 2014 High School Traffic Safety Challenge, the students each received an award plaque with their individual names on it. “This will be a hard act to follow next year for sure!” added Gray.

Representatives from McDivitt Law Firm heard the slam poem during the Drive Smart Colorado awards ceremony and asked the students to perform it on video.

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