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BA kids learn ‘Think Fast’ driving skills

PHOTO SUBMITTED / Brookhaven Academy seventh-grader Kolby Foote, demonstrates how to take the keys from a driver, Alan Weiner of ThinkFast, who is portrayed as having been drinking as part of a teen safety lesson Tuesday. Meanwhile, eighth-grader Anna Grace Covington awaits her turn.

PHOTO SUBMITTED / Brookhaven Academy seventh-grader Kolby Foote, demonstrates how to take the keys from a driver, Alan Weiner of ThinkFast, who is portrayed as having been drinking as part of a teen safety lesson Tuesday. Meanwhile, eighth-grader Anna Grace Covington awaits her turn.

Brookhaven Academy students in grades seven through 12 recently participated in a fast-moving game-show format that helped teach key life skills on important subjects like distracted driving, driving under the influence and other life skills like talking an intoxicated driver out of the car keys.

BA school counselor Daisy Arnold said Nissan North America is funding the statewide teen safety program called “Think Fast Interactive” to get kids thinking seriously about the dangers of getting behind the wheel.

“The students really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it,” Arnold said. “I have kids that never say anything, and they were really talking about the show afterwards. And, the presenters, too, said this was one of the best audiences they’d visited.

A press release from DREAM (Developing Resources for Education in America) Inc. of Mississippi said that Brookhaven Academy was chosen for the program because of the higher rate of motor-vehicle related deaths in the area.

“The Mississippi Youth Highway Safety Programs staff at DREAM Inc. has chosen your school because there have been a high number of youth fatalities in your city or

ThinkFast, an interactive program designed to raise teen awareness levels about youth highway safety, was presented at Brookhaven Academy by DREAM Inc. and Nissan of Canton. The program's goal is to educate Mississippi teen drivers about the importance of youth highway safety. Participating in the game show segment aree: Sara Kate Rushing (from left), Leigha Romero, Landon Nettles and Kolby Foote.

ThinkFast, an interactive program designed to raise teen awareness levels about youth highway safety, was presented at Brookhaven Academy by DREAM Inc. and Nissan of Canton. The program’s goal is to educate Mississippi teen drivers about the importance of youth highway safety. Participating in the game show segment are: Sara Kate Rushing (from left), Leigha Romero, Landon Nettles and Kolby Foote.

county,” the press release reads.

After Tuesday’s local program, Arnold said the academy is grateful to have been one of the 25 Mississippi Schools that the Think Fast program is visiting.

“We are privileged to have been selected as one of the schools in our state to participate in this driving safety program,” she said. “We appreciate Nissan of Canton for sponsoring this program in our state and Alex Cantrell, DREAM youth coordinator, for bringing it to BA. Cantrell loves how the students here respond to activities. She was here before on a program promoting seatbelt awareness, and she was really impressed with how students responded.”

The Think Fast Interactive program featured special audience remotes that allowed them to respond to the show host’s questions about driving safety, Arnold said.

“The interactive technology of the program was remotes passed out into the audience in groups of three or four students,” she said, “and they were all asked questions and had the anonymity to answer honestly – I was really shocked at some of the answers about texting and driving.

“And, I’ve been wearing a seatbelt since it was law – that was before most of these students were born. I admit I didn’t before, but it becomes a habit and I was shocked at how many students admitted that they didn’t automatically put their seatbelts on when they got in the car. It should be automatic.”

She said that cell phone usage and impaired driving received heavy focus in the program.

“Cell phone usage is a big danger,” she said, “[The show host Anthony Weiner with Think Fast] went over how many feet to seconds it is on a text message and used the example of how far down the road you go when you look down at a text for one second – one second is the length of a football field.

“When he talked about impaired driving, he purposely chose younger students to do the keys exercise where they had to get the keys away from an older intoxicated driver,” she said.

BA Headmaster Julie Wright said she hopes the message the program brought to her students will be passed on from them and into the rest of the community.

“We were very excited for the opportunity to host this program,” Wright said. “And, we hope that this program can serve to reduce the loss of lives and injuries to teenagers of our community.”

Brookhaven Academy students enjoy the special presentation made possible by Nissan of Canton and DREAM Inc. and the Mississippi Youth Highway Safety Program. Pictured are (from left) Brock Ezell, Joey Rushing, Collin Hall, Connor Dorman, Alan Weiner of ThinkFast Productions, Molly Allen and Youth Coordinator with DREAM (Developing Resources for Education in America) Inc. Alex Contrell of Jackson.

Brookhaven Academy students enjoy the special presentation made possible by Nissan of Canton and DREAM Inc. and the Mississippi Youth Highway Safety Program. Pictured are (from left) Brock Ezell, Joey Rushing, Collin Hall, Connor Dorman, Alan Weiner of ThinkFast Productions, Molly Allen and Youth Coordinator with DREAM (Developing Resources for Education in America) Inc. Alex Contrell of Jackson.