Shaler teen organizes traffic-safety-awareness event
Maddie Seel, a junior at Shaler Area High School, wants to prevent others from feeling the pain she felt when a friend died in a motorcycle accident.
As a result, Seel is working to make the next generation of drivers aware of traffic-safety issues.
Seel created Youth Involved Education of Legal Drivers (YIELD) and hosted the first YIELD Traffic Safety Conference for close to 200 students from seven local school districts Nov. 28.
“I know what it feels like to have gone through this, and if we can help one person out of that situation, it will be worth it,” Seel said.
Seel's friend Adam Schuster was good friends with her brother and was a 2010 graduate of Shaler Area.
He was involved in the school's Youth Advocacy League, played upright bass and studied music at Duquesne University.
Schuster also was active in the community and even ran for district judge in 2011 against an incumbent and a police officer to promote young people's participation in government.
On March 7, 2012, Schuster died in a motorcycle crash with another vehicle.
Seel said Schuster's death was still fresh in her mind when she attended the Second Mile Leadership Institute at Penn State University in the spring with students from Shaler Area. So the group mapped out a plan to put on the traffic- safety conference.
“I think it's important to get the students and young people; we're the next generation,” she said. “We can reach my level and generation and make it a little safer.”
Last week, Seel led the half-day conference for her peers that featured informational videos; speakers, including a state police officer and personal injury lawyer Edgar Snyder; and group discussions.
Jacqueline Bair and Diane Tirio, teachers and sponsors of the Penn Hills Senior High School Students Against Destructive Decisions club, attended the conference and brought with them one of the largest groups of students.
“With everything we talk about with destructive decisions, and driving being the No. 1 killer, we hoped this would open their eyes, and maybe they'd gain something from this and take it home to their friends,” Bair said.
Seel said she received a lot of support from the community and the connections she made through being part of the Allegheny County Teen Safe Driving Committee to put on the conference.
Chris Vitale, manager for injury prevention at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, is member of the Safe Driving Committee and said she was excited to help support Seel and the Shaler Area students with the initiative.
Vitale helped write the application for Shaler Area to receive a $5,000 grant from Allstate Foundation to put on the conference.
“Teenagers listen to other teenagers,” said Vitale about her support. “No matter how we present it, it sounds like we're preaching because we're older, but when it comes from their peers, they listen.”
Seel said she is excited by the student attendance and response to the conference and hopes to make it an annual event for the Pittsburgh area.
“I would like students to have a better understanding of why we promote traffic safety and why it's so important,” Seel said.
“Until you go through it, I don't think you realize how wide spread (the effects) can be.”
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.