Mothers Against Drunk Driving Senior Assembly


MADD, also known as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, spoke to the Scheck Hillel senior class on February 22nd. Madd was founded in 1980 by a mother, Candy Lightner, whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. Candy’s goal was to spread awareness of the mass amount of accidents caused by drunk drivers and the impact they have on others’ lives. This organization has grown over the last forty-three years, and the number of accidents caused by drunk drivers has decreased tremendously. Their goal is to eliminate drunk drivers and educate teenagers on the issue. MADD is not only there to spread awareness but to be a place for victims to go, feel safe, and recover.

During the meeting, three volunteers shared their truth. First went a man who spoke about his wrong decision to drive home from the bar after drinking a little too much. He wound up killing 51-year-old Walter Reyes. He was an intelligent student at the University of Maryland who worked hard to get where he was, but it was all thrown away by one bad mistake. He served two years in prison, two years on house arrest, and is on probation for an additional ten years. Now, he speaks to the hearts of the students about his side of the situation and how hard it was for him and his family. He explained how the family of Walter showed him compassion and kept him from facing up to forty years in prison. He finished telling his story, and the next volunteer came up to speak. 

This young woman got up and started off by saying how we heard the offender’s side of the story, but now we will listen to the victim’s side. She was Walter Reyes’s daughter. She spoke about how she found out, and the emotions felt from seeing her father in a body bag on the news. She expressed how hard this loss was for her and her family and how she wouldn’t put that pain on her worst enemy. Her goal in telling us her story was to show us the damage drunk driving has on people and how it can happen to anyone. 

When asked how she felt during the assembly, student Joelle Kirsch said, “After hearing the man’s story, once she said she was Walter’s daughter, all my other classmates and I were in shock. You could hear a pin drop. It was so silent. Even eight years later, I felt her pain, which is as strong as ever. It showed me that bad things happen to good people. You never think you will be the case where it happens, but it can. Once she finished speaking, if you looked around the room, you saw tears in so many eyes and fear in faces. Hearing both sides of the same story showed how it doesn’t just hurt one side. Everyone gets hurt, and everyone loses.” 

The third speaker was a man named Stuart. When Stu walked to the front of the room, he had difficulty walking, and he was very shaky. His voice was muffled and difficult to understand. Stu spoke about his stupidity over and over. He mentioned how he never thought something like that would happen to him, but unfortunately, it did. Over 40 years ago, he got into a car with a drunk driver and was physically affected for life. He was trying to get the students to fear what could happen because he was a real example of the physical effects of drunk driving.

Toward the end of the assembly, a Scheck Hillel student spoke up about a personal experience with drunk drivers. “When I lived in Israel, two of my friends were walking home from another friend’s house. They waited for the street light to turn red and started walking. A car sped through the red light hitting both boys. One boy is alive and well today, but sadly the other was not. The thirteen-year-old boy passed away. This loss was so hard for my school community and for me. His death could have been 100% preventable, but someone’s stupid mistake cost him his life. During the presentation, all those old feelings came back to the surface. I think MADD coming to school was a great idea. It showed the causes and effects of drunk driving and its horrible impact on lives.”

The MADD organization plans to continue to spread awareness about drunk driving and its detrimental effects on people’s lives.