Making Positive Choices

Mr Christian Oneto, Dean of Students Years 10-12

Last week saw two presentations for our Year 11 and 12 cohorts during their weekly year level meetings about making positive choices, particularly related to driving.

The Year 11’s participated in a Road Attitudes and Action Program (RAAP) seminar with Mark Saunders from the Queensland Fire & Rescue Service. This presentation focused on preventative measures to mitigate factors which may affect/increase vehicle crashes. All three presenters shared their experiences dealing with the trauma of roadside accidents, both professionally and personally.

Many of these stories resonated with the boys due to their authentic nature. Some of the key messages included the percentage of young people involved in serious vehicle crashes far exceeds their population in the community, due to factors such as:-

  • The development that is still needed in the teenage brain in relation to visual and perceptual skills reaction times and the risk-taking nature of teenagers.
  • The mix of alcohol and high-risk driving situations (late at night, multiple young people in the car).

The Year 12’s received an incredibly powerful message from the organization No Second Chance. This organization has been delivering presentations to boys at TSS for nearly a decade and was first coordinated by Mr Mike Wallace. The three presenters were Matt Speakman, Paul Stanley and Warren Luff.

Matt Speakman suffered a serious spinal injury, resulting in paraplegia, when hit by a drunk driver whilst riding his motorbike. Incredibly it was on the same day he signed a deal to compete in the Australian 600 Super Sport Championship.

Paul Stanley, the father of 15 year old Matthew, who was punched at a party in 2006 and tragically died. Paul spoke emotionally about the events leading up to that night and the terrible repercussions which unfolded.

Warren Luff, a multiple Australian racing champion and ambassador to the No Second Chance (N2C) organization, presented a strong message on road safety.

The most impactful message which reoccurred in each presentation was how quickly life can change and how these changes often happen due to other people’s bad decisions. Both Matt and Paul’s stories resounded with our Year 12’s. This was evident from nearly every boy wanting to shake the hands of these presenters on the way out. It was also lovely to receive many messages from boys and parents about the conversations that these stories initiated.

I hope all parents and families are able to take some time in the coming weeks to continue these conversations with their sons who are beginning to drive on our roads.

Mr Christian Oneto

Dean of Students 10-12

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