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Graphic, honest stories by former paramedic

The Grade 7 to 9 students of both St. Michael School and the Weyburn Junior High were brought together in the WJH gymnasium on Feb.

The Grade 7 to 9 students of both St. Michael School and the Weyburn Junior High were brought together in the WJH gymnasium on Feb. 7, followed by students at the Weyburn Comp that afternoon, to listen to a nationally-renowned motivational speaker, Norbert Georget, speak about the dangers of drinking and texting while driving as well as the consequences of drug use.

What makes Georget different from many motivational speakers is that he backs up his message with graphic, often gruesome, real life photographs and videos depicting the consequences of making bad choices when it comes to safety behind the wheel, alcohol and drug use.

"I'm not here to spoil your fun," Georget commented numerous times throughout his presentation. "This (presentation) is not a scare tactic. I don't believe in scare tactics. This is real."

In addition to the genuine crash scene photographs, the presentation contained audio recordings, one of which simulated the events leading to an intoxicated person getting behind the wheel with his girlfriend. Georget had the students in the audience focus on the black projection screen and listen while the boyfriend convinces the girl he's not too drunk to drive, while he's driving and the two of them are engaging in idle chit-chat and as his girlfriend screams his name while the car is veering into the wrong lane. Suddenly there is a horribly loud bang, a pyrotechnic effect from the front of the stage and many screams and jumps from the students in the audience. The special effects were used to simulate an accident scene.

"It happens that fast," Georget said, demonstrating how quickly an accident can happen and how soon a life can be taken away. "120 to 0 in 3.5 seconds", one of his slides reads.

Another unique aspect of this presentation is that Georget backs up his speech with his real-life stories as a former paramedic in Saskatoon, painting a horribly terrifying and graphic picture of the scene at a drinking and driving vehicle accident.

"You'll never forget the screaming or the visions of someone who is trapped in a burning vehicle," he explained. "When their hair and clothing go up in flames, there's nothing you can do to help."

To make his presentation more contemporary, Georget has added a segment about the dangers of texting and driving to his speech. He played a dramatized video for the students that depicts a rather graphic car crash involving a young girl who was texting and driving. The video showed what can happen in a completely preventable real life accident and what the consequences of texting and driving can be.

Georget has been speaking to students for nearly 30 years, having spoken in 2,000 different schools to over 1.8 million students throughout Canada and the United States. This was his third time coming to the WJH to speak to the students.

"We're not born winners. We're not born losers. We're born choosers!" he and the audience exclaimed in unison at the end of the presentation, displaying one of Georget's favourite phrases which exhibits the intention of his presentation - choose to live, not to drink and drive.

The students had the chance to meet with Georget and purchase motivational stickers adorned with sayings such as "It's okay not to drink" and "It's okay not to do drugs" after the presentation was complete.

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