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Virtual Assembly Supports Grads with Safe Choices

Grade 12 students from every high school in the Burnaby School District attended the first-ever interactive and virtual assembly with an internationally-renowned speaker about making safe choices during grad year and beyond.

Kevin Brooks is a Road Safety Speaker provided to schools in the province in collaboration with ICBC. Brooks has previously spoken at high schools in the District, sharing his personal story and having frank conversations with Grade 12s about the consequences of intoxication and driving.

This year, Brooks was scheduled to speak at École Alpha Secondary on May 14 – his third year of doing so. Rather than cancel because of restrictions due to COVID-19, Alpha arranged with Brooks to share his story the same day, but with all students from across the District in a way that has never been done before by Brooks or the Burnaby School District. Tim Wozney is the Principal of Alpha.

We wanted to try to continue some of the traditions we’ve been able to do for grads in the past. Kevin’s message certainly is about grad season, but it’s beyond that. It’s about safety, good choices and looking out for each other. That is particularly relevant now, and will be at other times in these students’ lives.”

Not only was the gathering virtual, but Brooks also shared hopeful messages with students who are going through a lot with the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re all going through some tough times right now and this is a story about perseverance, and ultimately a positive message about coming through tough times.”

During the assembly held on Microsoft Office Teams, students posted questions for Brooks in the chat. Film students from Burnaby North Secondary recorded it so closed captioning can be added and it can be available for students for future viewing.

With conversation supported by images and video, Brooks shared his own story of how he was once a high performing athlete in high school. After making the choice to drink and drive, he’s now permanently paralyzed from the chest down and relies on a wheelchair to get around. With the support of friends and family, after months of rehabilitation he began to reclaim life. He told students that he focuses on helping others to avoid a preventable tragedy and has shared his story in eight provinces, 30 states and counting.

All of the things I speak about are choices. Hopefully today helps guide you to make better choices and to help be there for your friends.”

Brooks encouraged students to reach out to each other or someone they trust, whether they’re having tough times with the pandemic or anything else in their lives.

Read the story in the Burnaby Now. 

Posted May 2020