March 24, 2002 | By: Laura Skillman

Everything from learning to check the oil in a car to understanding the consequences of drinking and driving were part of Sweet 16, A Crash Course in Automobile Safety, held recently for sophomores at Todd County Central High School.

“It’s a program to help them have practical skills when they get behind the wheel,” said Lee Ann McCuiston, Todd County Extension agent for 4-H Youth Development. “Most of them don’t have their licenses yet so it is a good time to give them information about the driver’s test, auto insurance, drinking and driving, road laws and engine and tire maintenance.”

McCuiston said she was interested in bringing the program to the high school because it is important to teach young people how to drive safely and prevent accidents from happening.

“There are so many accidents that teenagers are involved in that we’ve just got to take that preventative step to educate them on these safety issues,” she said.

Sophomore Samantha Sisk said she knew many of the traffic laws but learned some things about insurance and hoped to learn about car maintenance.

“I’m hoping to get a lot out of the information on engines and tires; I think it is something everyone should know. I think this is a really good idea,” she said.

This is the first time that a program like this has been held at the school. Chuck Adams, school principal, said he thought the program and collaborative effort to make it a success were wonderful.

“The experience with what we are seeing today is letting these students learn and be educated on some things that we sometimes take for granted,” he said. “Sixteen is a step into adulthood. It’s the first opportunity for independence. Looking back, we didn’t have anything like this when we were growing up. Now, they have more of an opportunity to learn and understand what it is all about.”

The program was sponsored by Todd County 4-H Program, the Todd County Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator, Todd County YouthServices Center and Pennyroyal RegionalPrevention Center .

As chair of the planning committee Kelli Hall, Todd County Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator, lined up presenters for the program. Hall said the program is based on ‘Birthday Bash” which is a similar 4-H program conducted by some 4-H agents across the state.  They took some aspects of that program and built on it.

“It’s a time for the sophomore students to learn more about automobile safety and the responsibilities of driving,” she said.

Calvin Head, a sophomore who has his learner’s permit, said he discovered that a student’s grades can impact their insurance rate.

“I think this is a good idea because a lot of kids don’t know how to change a tire or check the oil or how much insurance can be if you have wrecks,” he said.  



Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278
Source: Lee Ann McCuiston, 270-265-5659