When we think of rite of passage, getting your driver’s license is one that comes to mind instantly. Obtaining your license is opening up your world and enjoying the sweet freedom that comes from being able to go where you want, when you want.
For many, driving can be overwhelming; from knowing if you can indeed turn right on red, to getting nervous about who gets to go first at a 4-way stop when you all seemingly got there at the same time. These little nuances are the things that need to be taught, so that new drivers can keep themselves and others safe on the road.
College Place High School is committed to propelling, not only students, but well-rounded citizens into the world. According to Heidi Wells, a spokesperson for College Place Public Schools, “Driving is an important component of that. Many trade jobs require driving skills. Learning to drive creates confidence, independence and is part of becoming an adult.”
Unfortunately, Walla Walla and surrounding Public Schools had discontinued their driver’s education program in 2001-2002 due to local districts finding it too costly to provide cars, staff and insurance. Then in 2002 Washington’s legislature stopped subsidizing driving instruction for the most part. Options were slim, as private driving lessons and permit programs cost an average of $500 to complete. With such a high cost, many opted out of participating. This left teens without a way to safely acquire their driving skills, and a slew of uneducated drivers being released onto roadways at age 18, when a the permit phase was no longer required.
Walla Walla Valley Honda
Walla Walla Valley Honda and College Place High School have banded together to help bring back the driver’s education program with Walla Walla Valley Honda donating the vehicles for driver’s education use. Blake Underriner, managing partner of the Honda dealership explains that “It’s important our youth learn to drive … there are kids out there not learning at all.”
The first run of this partnership for driver’s education will enroll about 85 students through the school year at a cost of $250 per student.