Guest speaker urges students to understand consequences
Sponsored by jagPRIDE, guest speaker Joe White visited the school to address the student body about avoiding alcohol and understanding the consequences of their actions on Friday, Sept. 7.
White was hospitalized in September 2006, after he jumped from a moving vehicle traveling 35 mph while under the influence of alcohol. He suffered a severe brain injury that impaired his speech and left the right side of his body partially paralyzed.
White now visits schools in hopes that his message will prevent others from making mistakes such as his. His presentations include not only his speaking but also the video of him leaping out of the car and the damage it caused his body.
“[It] makes you think about things, your consequences, your actions,” White said.
White understands this because the consequences of his mistake have proven numerous. During his presentation, he was assisted by 2002 graduate Abbie Eli, who picked up where White left off when he was unable to complete his statements. He also needs subtitles to understand movies, takes antidepressants to prevent becoming suicidal and continues to undergo medical treatment.
His accident changed his ability to do anything besides tell his story.
“What can I do? College?” White said. “I can’t do anything.”
Junior Luke Walling thought White’s presentation went well, but failed to completely reach the students.
“I think the message was positive, but I don’t think it really related to a lot of kids because they still think they’re invincible and that nothing can bring them down, so they’re still making stupid decisions and going on with life,” Walling said.
Sophomore jagPRIDE member Maddie Butterfield disagrees.
“I felt like Joe White’s story really resounded with a lot of the students because his story is relatable to high schoolers,” Butterfield said. “We can only hope that his message empowers students to be more conscious of their decisions this year.”
White’s ultimate message to students everywhere is to just think about their actions.
“Don’t do anything,” White said. “Never give up. Be safe and never give up.”