Pedestrian awareness unites Ocoee High

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  • | 7:01 a.m. March 5, 2015
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OCOEE — For the week of Feb. 16-20, Ocoee High School held Pedestrian Awareness Week in remembrance of Aubrey Clark, sponsored by the Interact Club.

Clark, a student at Citrus Elementary, died Feb. 5 as a result of injuries from Jan. 20, when a driver struck her and a peer who were riding their bicycles home from school. Her stepbrother Christian is a student at Ocoee High School, and the school wanted to help his family, said Ashley Hoffman, language arts instructor and Interact Club sponsor at Ocoee High School.

“We were discussing something to benefit the community, so what better to do than try that and help someone in that family and benefit the community as a result?” she asked.

With Presidents Day off, the week began Tuesday with a banner students could sign during their lunch period in the courtyard by the cafeteria, which the Interact Club was in charge of. It was a pledge to “Pause for Pedestrians,” as the banner said.

“I think (the pledge) will be very effective because, unfortunately, I don’t think it’s something that was in the forefront of people’s lives as it is now,” Hoffman said. “Citrus Elementary, where Aubrey went, is one of the schools that feeds into Ocoee High School. Especially in high school, most of these kids are driving, so, hopefully, it will make them more aware to be careful when driving. Pause, try not to rush, because people’s lives are at stake. I am hopeful that people will be affected because it hit so close to home.”

On Wednesday, almost all of the students and staff wore yellow or blue to represent Aubrey’s favorite colors, Hoffman said.

A Pedestrians Awareness Fair occurred Thursday during A and B lunches in the courtyard, including activities such as Interact Club’s “Minute to Win It” games and a concert featuring live music by Alex Baugh from The Crazy Carls.

“He’s actually from one of Christian’s favorite bands, which we didn’t realize when we set it up,” Hoffman said. “When we told him, he was ecstatic. Baugh dedicated one of his songs to Aubrey. It was really cool how he tied it to our week.”

As for the “Minute to Win It” games, one involved seeing how many cups participants could flip with a string, and another required contestants to try to guess the answer to a riddle within a minute, Hoffman said.

But the biggest “Minute to Win It” contest of the week was Friday, when a school-wide announcement gave each class one minute to see how much money it could raise in its collection box for the Clark family.

“They donated $1,900 in one minute,” Hoffman said. “It was so amazing to see the school, the students and the staff come together. When we counted it, we had tears in our eyes. It can’t replace what that family is going through, of course, but hopefully it will help them, even just letting them know we care.”

The Interact Club was responsible for demonstrating that care throughout the school by spreading awareness of the theme of the week and hanging signs all over the place, Hoffman said.

“We did lots of little things, like put butterflies with Aubrey’s name around the school as a visual, so people would remember what we were doing this week for,” she said.

Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].


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