Drive Smart Drives in an Important Message

Jalen Lindh, Junior Reporter

Driving is one of the most dangerous methods of transportation, and that’s why it is important to be able to drive, not just safely, but smartly. On Nov. 14, the students of Manitou Springs High School (MSHS) gathered in the gym for a Drive Smart assembly. Two MSHS staff members stood up in front of the student body that day and told their heart-wrenching tales to remind students why driving smart is so important, and what consequences it could bring if people do not.

The first spokesperson for the assembly was Mrs. King, one of the amazing teachers at MSHS. King’s speech about her sister, Lauren, was in the form of a poem. Lauren was an amazing snowboarder who always tried to see the good in the world. She always had a very optimistic look on life. King’s sister was an amazing woman who was always determined to complete all of her goals. She was devoted to caring for her family and others, was always a hard worker, finding ways around any obstacles that dare challenged her. However, it seems that one challenge was able to get the best of her.

One fateful morning, King’s sister was called into work. It was snowing pretty badly outside but that wasn’t going to stop her from going to work, another thing that she was devoted to. While she was driving, the snow had finally started to stick to the road. What happened next was devastating. Lauren had crashed and was not wearing her seatbelt. She suffered from extreme head injuries and was rushed to the hospital. When Mrs. King answered the phone, she was thrown off guard, “You never really anticipate something like that to happen,” she said when asked if she was shocked after receiving the news. Lauren was in the hospital for three weeks until she eventually passed. The road where she crashed that day was named after Lauren to keep her name and legacy alive. King hopes that her sister’s story highlights the importance of wearing seatbelts and driving safely.

The second spokesperson for the Drive Smart assembly was Ms. Waters, another one of MSHS’s amazing staff. Her sad, sorrowful tale is about her partner, Xavier Fretard. Fretard was known as the “Tall Man” at the Miblo Art Theatre. He would wear stilts and ride around on a tall bicycle. He was a wonderful performer and was obnoxious, in a good way. He was always there to make people smile, and lift the spirits of everyone around him. Sadly, Fretard’s life was taken away from him in an unfair way. On June 23, 2018, Fretard lost his life to a man under the influence. It was a hit-and-run with a terrible ending. Waters later received the news about her life partner later that night. What happened to him was horrible, but the “Tall Man” didn’t go out small. Manitou hosted a huge parade in the memory of Fretard, a man who shall never be forgotten. The man who took Fretard’s life that day could have walked home, or called and uber, but he didn’t. This man’s actions took Fretard’s life away and he has to live with that.

Driving is extremely dangerous. To all the students and teachers at MSHS, remember that your actions always have consequences, whether it be good or bad. Always drive safely. You never know what could happen. In the end, it’s all up to you.