By Scott Bleile

Driver’s Education classes at Seaford High School got to see and hear first-hand how their choices can make a difference in their lives during the Choices Matter Program on Tuesday, Feb. 25. The students were treated to a visit from Cara Filler, well-known author and motivational speaker, who talked about how a family member’s bad choices changed her life. There were also demonstrations, which showed how drugs and alcohol affect your driving.

Driver Education Program instructors, August Bradley and Lori Ballard brought the program, which is sponsored by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, to SHS to impress upon the students how bad choices can change their lives forever.

The Driver’s Ed classes at Seaford High School participated in the Delaware Office of Highway Safety’s “Choices Matter Program” last Tuesday, Feb. 25. Cara Filler, pictured, spoke to the students about how bad choices can affect their lives. Filler lost her twin sister in a high-speed car crash, where the driver was going 100-mph in a 30-mph zone. She explained that the driver was making a bad decision, which changed her life. The students also had a chance to participate in interactive demonstrations about how drugs and alcohol affect their driving. Photo by Scott Bleile

“We had the NJROTC cadets greet every student driver at the door and escorted them to the front of the auditorium to interact in the program,” said Ballard. “The Choices Matter Program exists to make sure students understand how to make the right choices as a driver and a passenger. Program Manager of Choices Matter, Leslie Spearman brought in one of the top youth motivational and prevention speakers in the world, Cara Filler. She is a motivational speaker who specializes in the dangers of risky driving and visits over 200 high schools every year. She has directly reached over 2 million students in over 2,500 presentations in five countries.”

Cara Filler captured the attention of everyone in the Seaford High School auditorium as she gave an unforgettable life changing message.

“My world was devastated and forever changed when my identical twin sister, Mairin, was killed in a high-speed car crash the day after their 18th birthday,” Filler told the students. “I lost my identical twin sister, my best friend forever. We did everything together. I miss her terribly. A day does not go by without thinking of her.”

A high-speed crash is what killed her sister, but it was also her lack of courage to stop the driver, Filler explained to the quiet auditorium. Filler touched every student and inspired them with the power of choice.

“You not only have the choice to be a safe driver, but also the choice to make the driver stop the vehicle so you can get out when they are making bad choices behind the wheel that could be fatal,” explained Filler. “Imagine the most important person in your life and now imagine them not being here anymore. You think it will always happen to someone else. My sister’s boyfriend was driving and going 100-mph in a 30-mph zone and hit another car. The other car hit right on the passenger’s side where my sister was sitting. She was killed and everyone else was okay.”

Filler continued to explain how bad choices can change everything.

“Almost everyone has a story of how their life is forever changed due to losing a loved one in a fatal crash,” Filler told the students. “I want you to remember four things. One, do not put yourself at risk; two, get out of the car if you feel there is a problem; three, lie to the driver to get out of the car and make sure you are safe; and four, call somebody, your parents, another friend anyone to get yourself out of a bad situation.”

Ballard added, “What is unique about this story is how Cara took her family’s tragedy and turned it into a compelling presentation for all to make the right choices and instill in them a sense of responsibility to keep living. CRASHES can be avoided; it depends on the choice you make. SAVE A LIFE!!!!”

After Filler’s presentation, students were able to participate in multiple interactive learning stations using simulations. Even an easy task such as walking a straight line becomes a very difficult one when impaired.

“This program hopes to reach every student for them to make life-saving decisions,” said Ballard. “Students are wearing their t-shirts, ‘Choices Matter,’ to school and telling others about the life-changing message they heard that day,” said Bradley. “We are glad to see the Choices Matter Program visiting many high schools across Delaware and they want to continue having this program in their school in hopes that all will be safe drivers and passengers.”