Upsala High School students will be participating in virtual reality simulations of impaired driving when the Arrive Alive Tour® sponsored by UNITE comes to town, Friday, April 27. The event will take place all day and every high school student will have the opportunity to step into the simulator.

When checking out the opportunity, Dean of Students Nick Klug discovered that “they had a date open for us, the day before our prom.”

UNITE’s Arrive Alive Tour® program uses a high-tech simulator, impact video, and several other resources to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving and intoxicated driving. The simulator lets participants experience the potential consequences of distracted and impaired driving in a controlled environment.

Upsala has sponsored mock car crashes prior to prom in past years; this program offers something different for students.

Statistics show that nearly one-third of all traffic deaths involve alcohol-impaired drivers. Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash. On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime. Every day, people drive drunk more than 300,000 times.

One of the most commonly-recognized driving distractions is cellphone use. Drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Their lack of driving experience can contribute to critical misjudgments if they become distracted. Not surprisingly, they text more than any other age group.

“UNITE’s programs are designed to increase awareness of the dangers and consequences of impaired driving. These events have a powerful impact on students,” Klug said. “Each student in grades 9-12 will have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the simulator. Each grade will go at a different time throughout the day.”

Upsala School Board Briefs

Other business coming before the Upsala School Board at its meeting, March 28, included:

• Listening to a presentation by Rob Tabott of Cobra Mechanical regarding possible preventive maintenance for the school’s heating system;

• Learning that Andrew Prokott and Ashley Biniek will be honored as Students of Excellence at an awards banquet in St. Cloud, April 25;

• Hearing that sixth-grader Alyssa Young took sixth place at the regional spelling bee in March;

• Listening to Supt. Vern Capelle’s report on the possibility of a children’s museum being created by Region 5, possibly to be located in Brainerd;

• Accepting the resignation of paraprofessional/bus driver Jen Holberg, effective March 13;

• Approving the hiring of Walter Edin as a bus driver;

• Approving the addition of an assistant softball coach position at 7 percent of step one. “It will be just for this year, due to the number of team members,” said Supt. Capelle;

• Approving the hiring of Nick Klug as assistant softball coach;

• Approving the cooperative agreement with Melrose Schools for trap shooting;

• Approving donations from Upsala Lions Club of $140 for Hall of Fame plaques, $500 for post-prom and $2,500 for Kindergarten Readiness; and

• Approving two additional fundraisers for the Europe trip being coordinated by Kara Poissant: Yankee Candles and cookie sales.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Upsala School Board will be Wednesday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the high school media center.

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