It can be scary watching your son or daughter grow up into a young adult, but it’s even scarier knowing that soon they’ll be old enough to get behind the wheel of a car. Smith-Cotton High School offers a driver education course to help teenagers learn the safety and responsibility that comes with having their license.
Instructor Ashley Young, a Smith-Cotton social studies teacher, enjoys teaching students the importance of safety while driving. Young has taught driver’s ed for six years.
“My favorite part is getting to know the students, and seeing those (who are) scared or nervous gain confidence in themselves and their new abilities,” he said.
S-C sophomore Mackenzie White, who took the course last summer, said it not only helped her with driving skills and learning the importance of road safety, but she also made a lot of memories during the course with her friends.
“My favorite part about the class is getting to drive around with my friends,” said White, who added that her favorite memory was running over a squirrel, and crying while all of her friends laughed.
The course teaches everything from basic car control, signals, lights, signs and handling emergencies, to helping students prepare for their permit/driver’s test and many other things. The students are taken on six different driving routes: residential, Broadway Boulevard, lettered rural highway, two-lane large highway, divided highway and driver exam course.
Driver education is not only a learning experience, but it can also significantly affect the cost of insurance. Young said, “Depending on who the driver is insured by, it can be a good reduction, but there are some insurance companies who don’t honor the driver’s ed certificate anymore.”
The driver education course runs June 6 to July 1; the classroom work is done in the theater room at Smith-Cotton Junior High School. Students must be age 15 to take the class and there is a $180 course fee; registration deadline is June 3. In order to pass driver education, students must log 30 hours in class, 12 observation hours, six hours behind the wheel and have their driver’s permit before the end of the course.
Students can pick up applications in the Smith-Cotton High counseling office.
Meredith Kemp is a student at Smith-Cotton High School.