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Eagle County School District hosts safe driving fairs at high schools

Ali Longwell | Vail Daily

Students from Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain get opportunity to engage with local first responders, nonprofits and organizations

Over the past month, both Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain high schools hosted safe driving fairs. The fairs aimed at educating students about the importance of driving safely as well as on the perils of impaired and distracted driving. Battle Mountain hosted its fair on Wednesday, May 4, and Eagle Valley on Wednesday, April 5.

In the past, similar fairs were put on by a coalition of first responders and the Eagle County Prevention Committee. However, after dwindling for a few years during COVID-19, they were brought back to both schools this year with the help of the district’s prevention coordinators. 

“We are to a place now where we’ve been able to insert so much behavioral health and prevention work through capacity building in the schools over the last six years that we’ve been able to go a little bit more global in the school district,” said Candace Eves, one of the district’s prevention coordinators. “Through that process, we’ve really tried to build out the social and emotional aspects of what we have for students in our schools.”

However, high school students can be hard to reach. These students fulfill their social-emotional curriculum needs (per the state of Colorado) in their ninth-grade health class, so the challenge is finding ways to connect with them during their remaining three and a half years, Eves added.

“We’re constantly trying to find ways to introduce and get more of some prevention education that’s meaningful to them,” she said, adding that reinvigorating the safe driving fairs is just one of the ways they’re doing so.

“What we’re noticing is our students, when they congregate with their peers out in the community, a lot of times the vehicle is the method of transportation to where they’re going,” Eves said. “We wanted to recognize that instead of constantly trying to push it in the classroom, show how these things impact your life in real life, and how things can change in a moment when you make a decision.”

The importance of the lessons taught at the fair were particularly important with prom and graduation around the corner, stressed Lisa Pisciotta, one of the district’s prevention coordinators.