Students attend presentation about reckless driving


Credit: Cara Filler

On Thursday, April 26, students listened to motivational speaker Cara Filler discuss her experiences with reckless driving and its consequences.

WHS students attended an assembly on Thursday, Apr. 26 during which Cara Filler, a youth motivational speaker, described her personal experience with reckless driving. When Filler was just 18 years old, her twin sister, Marin, was killed in a car collision when her boyfriend sped and hit another vehicle.

Educating middle and high school students was not Filler’s original life plan, but after her sister’s tragedy, she decided to do something positive in her sister’s honor.

“The grieving is what it took to get me talking because if I could talk about Marin, I felt like people wouldn’t forget about her,” Filler said.

After describing her story, Filler taught students strategies for easily escaping dangerous driving situations. After acting out these strategies in a comedic manner, she explained the importance of both looking out for yourself and the people around you.

“At the end of the day, [we need people to] stick their necks out for [others],” Filler said. “We need more care, compassion and empathy.”

Filler’s message has had lasting effects on many. She explained that she receives thousands of emails about how her strategies have gotten people out of dangerous driving situations. Recently, Filler ran into a woman at a jewelry store who had attended one of her presentations.

“I was at Kay Jewelers in Portland, and the lady was selling me a ring and she said, ‘What do you do?’” Filler said. “And I was like, ‘I am kind of a motivational speaker for high schoolers’ and she was like, ‘Oh that’s awesome! We had a speaker at our high school like eight years ago and she talked about the three P’s.’ That was eight years out of high school and she still remembered. She told me how many times she used that in college to get out of a bad situation.”

Every job has its ups and downs. While her topic of discussion is quite heavy, Filler shared that she loves to see people graduate high school and hear people’s stories about how they have overcome their challenges. Helping others to not make the same mistake as her sister has helped Filler cope.

“The opportunity that I’ve had to speak to more than 2 million people in 2,700 school assemblies [makes my life] a life well lived,” Filler said.

Students had watched a short mock car crash video the day before in order to prepare for Filler’s presentation. The film mainly focused on the dangers of drunk driving. Despite it being only a scenario, the clip was graphic and emotional, making it seem more realistic.

Sponsered by the club for Students Against Destructive Decisions, or S.A.D.D., the goal of the video was to raise awareness about the dangerous effects of drunk driving and to show how one person’s poor decisions could affect a range of people and families. The characters played out an entire mock crash and the dramatic, fatal consequences a crash can have.

S.A.D.D. has brainstormed ways to bring awareness to the detrimental effects of destructive decisions like distracted driving. Senior Co-President Darby Leid explains that S.A.D.D. looks for ways to reach out to students.

“Our [S.A.D.D.] meetings are usually just brainstorming different ways to make events in the community and ways to impact our school,” Leid said.

The following day, S.A.D.D. organized a demonstration involving yellow shirts. The idea was that members would wear the same number of yellow shirts as the number of high school students that die daily as a result of car crashes.

“The actual demonstration was supposed to be a new person puts a shirt on, so throughout the day you see more and more people,” senior Co-President senior Lilly Lin said. “But we felt that it would be easier if everyone started out wearing the shirts. It’s easier to visualize the statistic if people are actually wearing the shirts.”

Together with Filler’s presentation, members of S.A.D.D. hope students understand the implications of distracted driving.