Scholarship Finalist Essay (Winner)
School: Orange Coast College
Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of daily deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about 28 people die driving under the influence every day. Unfortunately this number has recently included my 20-year-old brother Brenden. He may not have been legally allowed to drink, but as a college student in Texas it is all too easily accessible.
Sure the roads were open, and the traffic was minimal to none, but that did not stop his luck from coming to an end. He hit a median, rolled his vehicle, and before the paramedics made it to the scene everything went under fire. My siblings included two twin brothers, eight years younger than me, and coming from a long line of alcoholics we all know/knew better, but alcohol clouds any and all judgment so even the brightest, and youngest of the three lost his life to a single drunken mistake; getting in the car, and turning on the ignition. Not only was he the youngest, but he was intended to be the most successful, first to go to college and graduate. In the matter of moments his and all lives surrounding him changed forever.
In a strange way he did get lucky, he did not take any other lives with him. While this was his choice, and a bad one at that, to involve innocent people would have been even more devastating. Too often drunk driving deaths include the innocent. Simply type in the Google Search Engine, “Drunk Driving Deaths” and within the first few seconds you find yourself reading obituaries of mothers, fathers, young teens, and even small children. All caught in the cross fires of someone else who decided fun was worth having, morals were not. For the people like me who are left behind, to innocent victims who lost their lives going about their days as normal, we need to do better. We need to care more.
Due to the recent tragedy in my life I have decided to take a small shift in my career choice. I want to counsel teenagers and help them see what life has to offer before they get caught up in peer pressure. Yes, all adolescents are important, and it is vital for us as adults to guide them, but I feel like middle schoolers need a certain type of attention, My goal is to bring middle schoolers together and actively inform them the dangers of Drunk Driving in a fun environment in which they can take strong life lessons to heart and grow from them. If I can positively influence even one child I will feel more complete after such loss.
Acacia Smith is one of six finalists for the Johnson Attorneys Group Never Drink and Drive $1,000 scholarship for spring 2022. The winner will be announced later this month.
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