First Place: Kaila Bavin

Wilmington, MA

My name is Kaila Bavin and I am currently a senior at Wilmington High School. I will be attending Worcester State University with a major in Nursing. I will be a student in the Honors Program.


The Dangers of Drunk Driving

It is fifth grade and you’re sitting anxiously in your seat. Your teacher finally tells you that it’s time to start the D.A.R.E. curriculum, and you’re excited to finally be talked to like an adult. Your teacher starts throwing statistics at you, telling you about drugs, about drunk driving, and to think before you act. You sit in your seat thinking the same thing as those surrounding you, “that will never be me.” At a young age, you think you’re invincible; that nothing bad could ever happen. The sad part is people don’t realize this to be false until it is too late.

Tragedies strike every day. You hear about it on the news, on social media, all the while thinking: “I wouldn’t know what to do if that was me.” You immediately think of all the people you love in your life, and the thought of living a second without them makes you sick. The thing about tragedy is it doesn’t discriminate. Tragedies could affect your brother, friend, and everyone in between. The worst thing about catastrophes is most of them are easily preventable. Drunk driving is by far the most preventable by simply making the right decision. Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving incident. On average, two out of three people will be involved in some sort of drunk driving incident in their lifetime. We’re shown these horrifying statistics all our lives in hopes something will change.

Now, you’re in high school, and life suddenly hits you hard. The parties start, confusion surrounds you, and you’re no longer sitting in your fifth grade class. Your parents have let go of your hand, and they watch as you run out the door into a car full of your friends, hoping and praying they’ve brought you up well enough to make the good choices.

If I was presented with a friend wanting to drunk drive, I would do what any friend would do. I would take their keys, and ultimately do what it took to take care of them. Whether that means finding them another ride or driving them myself, I would make it a priority to make sure they’re safe. I would remind them about all those that love them, because I know personally my family has always influenced me to do the right thing. With six siblings, two parents, and two step-parents, I am supported in every direction. My family has opened my eyes to many things in life. What one teenage girl may think is the most important thing in the world; I have a little more perspective. When we make decisions, we are not just impacting our own life. We are changing the lives of those around us.

Every single person is born into complete innocence. When we drunk drive, we are risking our own lives, but more importantly, we could potentially take the lives of those who are innocent. Take a minute to think about the anger and grief you would experience if someone took the innocent life of someone you hold close to your heart. Every bad decision has a consequence. There are billions of people in this world, and every one of us has the right to live without fear of another putting their life at risk. Remember your value, remember your loved ones, and remember the innocent before you think about taking the wheel.

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Michael D. Kelly has a diverse background that provides a breadth of legal knowledge that he draws upon in serving his clients. Kelly compiled an excellent academic record during his three years at New England Law in Boston.