The White Ribbon Week campaign’s “drive safe” message and ribbons will be presented to students from the Golden Valley High School graduating class on May 23, event officials announced Friday.
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Deputy Joshua Dubin from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station is scheduled to appear at an assembly at the school to distribute white ribbons attached to cards listing the names of Santa Clarita Valley youth ages 14 to 20 who were killed in traffic collisions in the past six years, according to a Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital news release.
“Years ago, we had about 27 names on the card, and we’re reducing it year after year,” said Penny Upton, co-founder of one of the program’s sponsors, Santa Clarita Valley Safe Rides. “That’s our goal, to have no names on the card… I hear from the kids that it really does have an impact when they have the ribbon to put on their (graduation) gown.”
Dubin’s presentation is part of a series of assemblies in the campaign program where a sheriff’s deputy visits Santa Clarita high school senior classes prior to graduation ceremonies and distributes the ribbons in an effort to encourage safe driving.
This year’s Class of 2014 card lists the names of six teens killed since 2009, and students will be asked to wear the ribbons during their graduation ceremony in memory of those who lost their lives while keeping in mind the “drive safe” message, event officials said.
In addition to honoring the late teens, the program strives to encourage students to have fun during their graduation celebrations without engaging in high-risk activities like impaired driving to prevent any further traffic collisions, according to the news release.
Golden Valley High School has participated in the program every year since it opened in 2004, and will be the first school to hold a White Ribbon assembly this year, school officials said.
“It’s our first time being the first school, so it’s an honor,” said Golden Valley High Principal Sal Frias. “We’re happy to be part of the program and we look forward to continuing.”
The campaign began in 1997 in response to concerns over the large number of Santa Clarita teenagers who were killed in vehicular collisions as a result of reckless or impaired driving.
The program is sponsored by Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Frontier Toyota, Safe Rides, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the city of Santa Clarita.
The assembly is scheduled at 8 a.m. on May 23 at Golden Valley High School. Attendees are required to obtain permission to enter the school, and can RSVP to Maria Orem by calling 661-200-1305.
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