Division Peer Leaders Lead the Way During LEADD Week
On October 26th, the Division Peer Leaders took on a new project, one which has never been done by a Division Avenue club in the past. The Peer Leaders decided to organize a LEADD Week Assembly.
LEADD Week is an annual event at Division Avenue as well as the surrounding schools and community where the focus is on making good decisions on a daily basis. Destructive decision making is something the district has really been trying to curtail and by offering up assemblies every year, the hope is that the students will respond and act accordingly. The previous assemblies focused on everything from drugs to bullying and smoking to vaping. This year, the Peer Leaders tackled a problem which everyone is already aware of, yet everyone disobeys: distracted driving.
The assembly started out with host Phil Downes introducing the topic and explaining to the audience how the first part of the assembly will be performed by 10 peer leaders. Each peer leader represents a pivotal moment in the lives of the two characters the audience is meeting: Harold and Betty. Each peer leader, dressed in the part, explained special moments such as high school prom and graduation, as well as older times when rooting for the grandkids in sports.
After these moments, Phil took the audience on a ride down information highway in regards to distracted driving. Phil acknowledged how, although everyone knows the dangers of distracted driving, the peer leaders don't believe people are taking it seriously enough. He even had the audience standing and sitting based on the statistical numbers. After giving out the facts for Nassau County in regards to distracted driving tickets, six other peer leaders joined together on stage to recall the real life stories of people who have been either killed or severely injured because of distracted driving. Although sad, the message was starting to become clear as to how dangerous distracted driving is to society.
With the return of Harold and Betty, Phil then explained to the audience how these wonderful lives that Harold and Betty had were really just made up. Neither Harold nor Betty lived long enough to share in any of these stories. Distracted driving is dangerous and with this, the audience reacted with silence. The message was clear.
The middle part of the assembly brought out Division's resident dancers, Nick Alvino and Marie Alexander. The two of them created a dance to go along with a spoken word poem written by Mr. Verdi. The concept was how quickly and suddenly life can end if you don't pay attention when driving. The message focused on how people take not just their own lives into account when driving. The pair choreographed the dance themselves and clearly touched a lot of lives because of the overwhelming silence and tears form the audience.
The assembly ended with a gift. After the visual of a commercial, the peer leaders joined on stage to offer last words of encouragement and pleading to use this gift and save lives. The gift was a box designed to be used in the car for the driver's cell phone to be placed.
Mr. Martufi commented, "The kids were amazing. Truly Division at its finest." Dr. McDonald added, "I was very impressed by the districted driving assembly presented by the peer leaders. It was thoughtful, provocative and entertaining."
Mr. Verdi, the Peer Leader advisor, said, "This has been something Peer Leaders has been trying to bring to Division for years. It took the right group of students with the right drive and ambition. I am so proud of them." If you need a box from the assembly, please stop by the AP office.