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On Saturday the 9th I happened to be driving around town and at an
intersection I observed a young driver in a pickup with a student that I
recognized in the back, a 10th grader by the name of Zach Herman.  He
was hanging on to some BMX bikes.  The driver took the corner too
quickly and Zach had to hang on to keep from being pushed to the side of
the bed.  I don't think he would have been thrown from the truck, but he
was still at risk.  


            I made a mental note to see Zach this week to tell him he
was in a hazardous situation and not to just dismiss what took place.  I
wanted him to be sure and let the driver know he was being negligent and
could have gotten a ticket.  


            It just so happened that in today's Ithaca Journal there is
a feature story about a young man by the name of John Grandizio who
graduated from Trumansburg High School in Trumansburg, New York, in
2003.  Unfortunately, an accident a few weeks before graduation kept him
from participating in the ceremonies.  He fell out the back of a pickup
truck and struck his head.  He experienced comas, several brain
surgeries and had little assurance from his care givers that he would
lead much of a normal life.  Although drugs nor alcohol played any part
in the accident, Grandizio, now 23, realizes that riding unprotected in
the back of a pickup was a mistake.  


            The positive side of the story is that Grandizio will be the
first to walk across the stage to receive his diploma at this year's
Trumansburg commencement.  He is also considering visiting other high
school classes to convince teens "about the danger of thinking they're
invincible."  His trainer, Ralph Diliberto, has this to say about him:
"He's got some savvy.  Ninety percent of the population would just fold
up" after an injury like that.  He will be attending Tompkins County
Community College this fall and hopes to work with people who have
experienced similar injuries.


            When I showed the article to Zach this morning he knew that
he was in a risky situation and was appreciative of seeing the article.
He said that he would definitely be showing this to the driver of the
pickup.  Something else that should be mentioned is that the teenagers
weren't just going out for a "joy ride".  There is a local effort to
build a BMX park in memory of Nick Wilson, a Newark Valley graduate who
was killed in Iraq in December 2006.  Wilson became a Navy Petty officer
2nd class.  He was part of a unit that disarmed explosive devices.  You
can learn about this project at the following link:  There was a fund raiser for the
bike park that took place on May 9th.  


            The story about Grandizio can be accessed online at this
URL:  The link for "health" will bring up the
article: "Crash victim has message for teens".  


Ed Nizalowski, SMS                       

Newark Valley High School

Newark Valley, NY


            "Unfortunately, the owner of the business where I worked
told us that it is America who asks us to enslave the children.
American people like the cheap carpets, the rugs, the towels that we
make.  So they want bonded labor to go on.  I appeal to you that you
stop people from using children as bonded laborers because the children
need to use a pen rather than the instruments of child labor."


Iqbal Masih, Reebok Youth in Action Award acceptance speech, December 7,


Currently reading Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers





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