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The student news site of Atlantic High School


The student news site of Atlantic High School



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Irresponsible Decisions Leave an Irreplaceable Impact

AHS holds their first “State Patrol Safety Carnival,” and it leaves students emotional.
Isabelle Symonds
Seniors Kipp Namanny and Katreen Buliche look inside the damaged Camaro. The AHS students watched a video on the crash and heard from the officer that was in charge of reconstructing the vehicle after the crash.

On Oct. 17th, 2023, AHS held their first ever “State Patrol Safety Carnival”. At this event, students were presented with many officers from around the state. “Some of the best, if not the best,” said Shelby McCreedy, a state trooper who was head of this idea, which showed us just how important safety is on the road.

At the carnival, students went to different stations to learn about multiple ways to make smart decisions and prevent accidents while driving. Students had the opportunity to operate a golf cart while texting, shoot basketballs while wearing vision impairment goggles to replicate being under the influence, ride a 10 mph crash simulator, and more. However, there was one station different from the rest, one that brought tears to most’s eyes.

On Friday, July 1, 2022, three teens were tragically killed in an excessive speed-related accident in Dubuque, Iowa; Kennedy Elskamp, Chloe Lucas, and Billy Wodrich. Students of AHS were presented with the car in which these kids lost their lives. The purpose was to show our juniors and seniors just how serious it is to drive safely, and the possible result of what can happen if you don’t.

It’s crazy to think that that could be one of us.

— Austin Haskins

Senior Austin Haskins said, “It made me think about how a lot of us high school students drive too fast. It’s crazy to think that that could be one of us.”

Junior Emma Rose was heavily affected. Rose had personal connections to the girls, and seeing the car was harder than she had anticipated. “I knew Kennedy and Chloe from church camp, they were in my cabin and I got to know them really well.” Rose said she had talked to the girls about a week before the accident. “They were the last people that you would have ever thought this would happen to, and I don’t think I ever really comprehended it until I saw the car. It’s honestly so scary, it could be anybody. The second you step into a car that could be you.”

Rose said it made her realize how “stupid people can be” and how careless she’s been while driving. “I think I know the area I’m in well enough to open my phone, but that’s just not the case. I felt a lot of guilt because I’ve done things like that and it didn’t happen to me, but it happened to them.” This has and continues to impact Rose, as she lost people she cared about to the same mistakes AHS students make every day. 

Teenage deaths have increased 110 percent, just from car accidents alone. These numbers are preventable, and as students who are constantly behind the wheel, it’s up to them to bring this percentage back down.

Jade Harter, a senior, said she was very emotionally impacted by the video shown before looking at the car. “Seeing their shoes and all their valuables in the car made it real, seeing that they had their own life and that it was taken away so suddenly. The car really showed me the dangers and brought it to life,” said Harter. “It was just really eye-opening. It made me think of all the things I let slide, like not wearing a seat belt or driving too fast.” Harter, and many other students, have said that they think twice before they pick up their phone or speed now, thinking back on the three students and what irresponsible driving can do.

I felt a lot of guilt because I’ve done things like that and it didn’t happen to me, but it happened to them.

— Emma Rose

The Leadership class, as well as the Iowa State Patrol, made this event possible. One officer made a five-hour drive each way to educate our students on this topic. They wanted to share how important your life is, and that your decisions have an impact, not only on you, but those around you. The decisions you make as a passenger are just as important as decisions made behind the wheel. Their time and efforts left an impact on the students and will hopefully make someone stop and think before they pick up that phone, drink that drink, or look past the speed limit. Our decisions are important and can save, or take lives.

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About the Contributors
Alyssa Neal, AHS Needle Senior Editor
Alyssa Neal is a senior at Atlantic High School, and has been in journalism for three years now. She is a lead editor for the AHS Needle website. Neal´s favorite part about journalism is all the different aspects there are to journalism. Neal likes that there are many different ways to hear the news so that ¨everybody in the school can hear the news how they want to hear it.¨ Neal´s favorite memory of journalism was when they went to the KCCI news center in Des Moinesand got to see where they filmed the news at. Neal is looking forward to seeing how fast and how well their AHS needle site is going to be this year because right now it's going really well. She wants to see how many badges the site will get. Her proudest story she has done is her coaches vs. cancer story that she wrote last year for Pink-Out. Other activities Neal is involved in are choir, show choir, cross-country manager, girls basketball manager, Quill and Scroll, AHS needle, and NHS. Neal´s future plans currently are to attend Northwestern Christian in Orange City,Iowa. She is unsure of what her major will be. Story by Aydrie Coffman
Isabelle Symonds, Social Media
AHS Junior Isabelle Symonds is a two-year journalism student of Atlantic High School. Symonds is in the social media department and business department of journalism. “We went to the Media Now and I enjoyed it, and wanted to step up in social media,” said Symonds. She said her favorite memory of journalism so far was when they took a trip to Media Now at Drake, “There were a bunch of kids there, and a group of us went and learned more about journalism.” Symonds says she is most proud of them being up to date and consistent on their posting on all social media platforms. While staying busy with journalism Symonds also enjoys spending time with her family and friends in her free time. Symonds said she loves to walk her two dogs, and she loves to read books. “My favorite book would have to be Verity by Colleen hoover.” Although she is always busy with school, Symonds also has a job at the Heritage House here in Atlantic, Iowa. “I have friends that work there and the elderly are super sweet,” said Symonds. Eventually when Symonds graduates she would like to go to DMACC for 2 years and then transfer to Drake to finish off her other two years to major in education and minor in Journalism. Story by Rylee Bengel

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  • A

    AnnaNov 2, 2023 at 1:40 pm

    I really loved reading this story. It shared a lot of emotion with the tragic accident. I think that it was a great idea to have the safety carnival. I think it shows how fast something can go wrong.

  • R

    RyleeNov 2, 2023 at 9:06 am

    I really enjoyed this story because it shared a lot of emotions, and how fast these situations can happen, nobody truly thinks it will happen to them until it does then its heart breaking to the community.