Six new drivers are soon to hit the road, and it’s all thanks to a pilot program out of Activities Beyond the Classroom (ABC). The program, launched in spring of 2023, aims to provide drivers education to students who could not otherwise afford it.
Drivers education is a critical life skill and an essential part of high school education, and it is necessary for students to learn to drive safely and responsibly. Learning to drive opens up many opportunities and grants a great many freedoms, such as more choices in work / professions, the flexibility to run errands, and the ability to travel to new places. Additionally, having a driver’s license can also provide independence and autonomy, which are critical for personal growth and development.
In addition to these practical benefits, learning to drive also has a significant impact on safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States, with the number one cause of accidents being cited as driving inexperience. This statistic underscores the importance of providing drivers education for students to ensure that they learn to drive safely and responsibly. By providing students with the opportunity to learn to drive safely, we are creating a safer environment for all drivers on the road.
To enroll in the program, students at Aiken High School were asked to submit an essay (up to 500 words) demonstrating their need and desire for the program. From this pool of applicants, students were then selected based on their essay, proof of drivers permit (which needed to be attained independently), and by their school performance (including grades, attendance, and behavioral records such as recent detentions/suspensions). After acceptance into the program, students worked with ABC’s partner Scott’s Driving Academy to take classes online and schedule their in-person, behind-the-wheel lessons.
ABC extends our many thanks to Scott’s Driving Academy for making this program accessible for these students. Thanks also for the engagement and support of Kim Ronnebaum, Program Manager at Activities Beyond the Classroom; and Dana Bierman, ABC’s Resource Coordinator placed at Aiken High School. We are so proud and grateful for our tremendous staff, without whom tremendous programs like these would not be possible. ABC hopes to expand this program next school year, giving more students the freedom and autonomy that driving allows.