Deniliquin is to the forefront in protecting our young people, and the community’s efforts should be recognised and applauded.
Last week the local high school’s Year 10 students participated in the annual Driver Education Program, which is rightly recognised as the best of its type in the state, if not Australia.
All the lessons in English, Maths, Science and other subjects are important to a young person’s future, but is there anything more important than learning how to negotiate the dangerous early years on our roads for those about to get a driver’s licence?
At the weekend, over the border in Victoria, country towns were mourning the tragic loss of life from road fatality, including two teenagers near Lakes Entrance in the state’s east on Friday night.
In Deniliquin we are taking positive steps to try and avoid our community being rocked by a similar tragedy.
The Driver Education Program covers a range of road safety initiatives, including a mock accident, visiting the hospital, police station, insurance agent and courthouse.
It also has sessions on mental health, and students learn from those who have been impacted by road trauma.
No-one can question the positive impact this program has had on our young drivers. Since its inception the road behaviour has improved and, more importantly, there has been a reduction in road fatalities involving our precious young people.
Surely this therefore makes driver education the most important week in the school life of our students.
Another concern among our youth is mental health, and again Deniliquin is to the fore in positive programs.
Various forums and initiatives have been organised to raise this issue and take steps to recognise when a person is at risk.
Playing a major role in this education process is High School teacher Brenda Norman’s Channel 4 Change. As she prepares for the massive challenge of swimming the English Channel, Ms Norman is making a difference in our community by highlighting the impact of mental health and promoting efforts to reduce its impact.
Both the Driver Education Program and Channel 4 Change are initiatives that are unique to Deniliquin and fine examples of a community that cares for its own, in particular those who can be most vulnerable.
Everyone involved should take credit for the role they are playing in strengthening our future by supporting and educating the next generation.