18-year-old Maddie Partridge, a senior at Algonquin Regional High School, is the president of her school’s chapter of SADD: Students Against Destructive Decisions.
“I never wanted to go to any of my friends funerals and I didn’t want anyone to go to my funeral, so I felt like this was a really great way to make a difference,” Partridge said.
The club’s goal is to stop kids from driving drunk, drugged or while texting.
“If you are going to make bad decisions, don’t endanger others by getting behind the wheel of a car,” she said.
Maddie helped create programs to get the word out to students and it worked.
“When I was a junior and people were starting to drive, if someone pulled out a phone, and in my case, I’ve taken their phone away and said I’ll text them for you,” said Marissa Rawlings, a friend of Maddie’s.
She also brought her passion to the Statehouse.
“We talked to legislators, our own local ones and from surrounding towns,” she said. “We (moreso) raised awareness of what SADD is trying to do, what message goals are, I talked specifically about what we do here at Algonquin.”
The school’s guidance counselor said that Maddie is a force to be reckoned with.
“I watched her run the meetings with the kids from SADD and she’s very organized about what she wants to do and easy going, but kids listen to her. If you put something in Maddie’s hands, she’s going to do it,” said guidance counselor Becca Haberman.
Maddie hopes to leave her school’s chapter of SADD stronger than ever, with a very clear message.
“I think that it’s impossible to say don’t drink, don’t do drugs, don’t do anything and have everyone follow that,” she said. “But I think that sending out one message about just don’t drive, much easier to follow that.”
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