Seventy-one teens lost their lives on Virginia roads in 2016—two of them were from Louisa County.
“We’ve lost too many students to traffic accidents and I want to try to decrease that number at the school,” Hannah Marrs, a 2017 graduate of Louisa County High School, said.
Marrs and a group of high school students, led by Louisa County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Rob Sarnoski, school resource officer, established a Youth of Virginia Speak Out on Traffic Safety (YOVASO) club in the spring of 2016.
The club is comprised of 12-15 students who are working diligently to raise traffic safety awareness among their peers to prevent such incidents in the future.
After just one full year of operation, Louisa County High School’s YOVASO club was named club of the year in June at the state organization’s annual leadership retreat at James Madison University.
Sarnoski was recognized at the annual event for the second consecutive year. This year he was named School Resource Officer of the Year, and in 2016 he was honored as top new school resource officer of the year.
Marrs was excited about the accolades, not only for the club’s recognition, but also that of Sarnoski’s. He’s been her school resource officer since fifth grade and she credits him for starting the club and keeping it moving forward.
While Sarnoski wouldn’t talk about his own achievements, he was more than happy to discuss the students’. The group’s Arrive Alive campaign, he said, is one of the reasons that the club stood out from others in the state, because of the community involvement they garnered.
In addition to law enforcement, local churches and businesses helped spread the message the club wanted to get out to promote teen driver safety.
The local YOVASO club made 61 paper crosses, the number of teens who had died in traffic-related accidents at the time the campaign was taking place, and taped them to the wall in a corridor at the high school this past spring. Fifty-nine of the crosses were white, and two were black, representing the two Louisa County teens who had died that year. Since then, the number has increased by 10.
To read the entire story, see the July 6 edition of The Central Virginian.