Education

Lazar Living Lessons Series: 8th Graders Encouraged to "Hang Up and Drive"

4c1db9b9905fe4730cc4_a_Steve_Johnson_and_Jacy_Good_encourage_Lazar_8th_graders_to_hang_up_and_drive.JPG
Steve Johnson and Jacy Good encourage Lazar 8th graders to hang up and drive Credits: Melissa Benno
e10e5b924dc84f1d0e29_a_Jacy_Good_1.JPG
Jacy Good Credits: Melissa Benno
f625b4c64014f588319b_a_Steve_Johnson.JPG
Steve Johnson Credits: Melissa Benno
ef7318cd01ef123e0e4a_a_Gabriella_Giudice.JPG
Gabriella Giudice Credits: Melissa Benno
4c1db9b9905fe4730cc4_a_Steve_Johnson_and_Jacy_Good_encourage_Lazar_8th_graders_to_hang_up_and_drive.JPG

MONTVILLE, NJ – When discussing the value of the Living Lessons presentations at Lazar Middle School on Wednesday, May 18, eighth grader Katie DeAngelis said it well, “When you are at an all-time low, there is always hope.”

And hope was the theme of many, if not all, of the 50 speakers who spoke at the event.

The Living Lessons program: Voices, Visions and Values occurs at Lazar Middle School every other year which gives students an opportunity to hear speakers on diverse, challenging and touching stories designed for their grade level.

Sign Up for E-News

Judy Gothelf, Living Lessons chairperson, and Derek Lynn, Living Lessons co-chairperson, spent over a year preparing for the event.

Gothelf explained, “It is my greatest hope that every child and adult who saw the Living Lessons program will take the messages that were delivered by each one of our 50 speakers and learn and grow from them, learn how to treat others, and learn that despite our differences, we are still all human beings who need to embrace each other and be accepting of those differences. My hope too is that each person gained a better understanding of the fact that no matter the challenges they face in life that they too can work hard to overcome them.”

One of the presenters at the seventh biennial Living Lessons program was Jacy Good, who encouraged the students to "hang up and drive."

Good had just graduated from Muhlenburg College and was on her way to the rest of her life. Driving home with her parents to celebrate with her fiancé Steve Johnson, she called from a gas station 45 minutes from her home to update him that they were almost home. Unfortunately they didn’t make it home.

A young driver was talking on his cell phone at a T-intersection along Good’s route. Even though he had a red light, he turned left in front of a tractor-trailer which swerved into the Goods’ car to avoid hitting the errant driver.

Good’s parents were both killed; she lay in a coma for two weeks. Her brother had to hold funerals and make decisions while she lay in the hospital.

“That first night in the hospital, they gave me a one in ten chance that she would survive,” Johnson remembered. Chillingly, the pair was speaking at Lazar on the anniversary of the 2008 crash.

Good described the rough path to recuperating from a traumatic brain injury, a lacerated liver, a broken foot, and many other severe injuries. After many months of rehabilitation, she was finally released to her parents’ home – which was empty of her parents. Further, she still does not have full use of her limbs and has lingering cognitive issues.

Good blames the other driver’s use of a cell phone.

“People think that it’s safe to drive and talk on a cell phone, even hands-free, but it’s not,” she told the eighth graders who attended her sessions. “They sell cars with Bluetooth systems with the implication that it’s safe to talk, but you are distracted. You cannot do two things at the same time. People call it multi-tasking but that’s a false word. It’s ‘toggle tasking.’ You are only concentrating on one thing at a time. And if one of them is driving, you had better be giving it your full attention.”

Good and Johnson said that more than 300 studies have been performed which show that talking on the phone while driving is not safe.

“We’ve been misled,” Good said. “The science does not back this up. Conversations with someone who is not in your line of sight are not safe.”

Good and Johnson said that they have lobbied in their home state of Pennsylvania and even at the United Nations, hoping for legislation against the use of hands-free telephone systems in cars, and they said that several countries have even banned them. Oprah Winfrey has featured the stories of these victims, they said, but little has resulted.

“We know what we need to do, but we struggle to do it,” Good said. “There is nothing on the phone more important than a human life. For me, there are no excuses.”

Johnson encouraged students to ask drivers to hang up and drive, which is the name of the couple’s website.

“Have the courage to ask the driver to let it go to voicemail,” he said. “You won’t know if you’ve saved a life, but it’s possible.”

“One of these ripples hasn’t touched your community yet, but it’s only a matter of time,” Good said. “You get this opportunity every day to make a change by telling drivers to not talk on the phone while they’re driving.”

Over the course of the day of Living Lessons presentations, sixth-grader Gabriella Giudice attended lectures by a person who had epilepsy yet played in the MBA, a holocaust survivor, and someone who came out as gay in front of many at the same time.

“I thought it was amazing to see how all these speakers overcame the hardships they faced,” she said. “I learned to follow what I believe in, be accepting and never discriminate against people for who they are.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Montville

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_9facb75f0f692fbdd526_1_4h_boy_and_guinea_pig

Thu, July 19, 4:00 PM

Chubb Park, Chester Township

Morris County 4-H Fair

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_874cb6b5a3fd2545250d_a________montville_sign__2018_tapinto_montville____1

Thu, July 19, 5:30 PM

Montville Twp Municipal Building, Montville

SPECIAL TIME - Zoning Board of Adjustment

Government

Carousel_image_e2ca01de152d0644bb07_photo

Thu, July 19, 7:00 PM

Montville Twp Senior House, Montville

Montville Township Democrats Meeting

Government

Carousel_image_af4c3a418ec5644b036d_2_boy_and_goat

Fri, July 20, 10:00 AM

Chubb Park, Chester

Morris County 4-H Fair - Fireworks Night

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_7e5ac2d13988b2d93c4c_3_4h_girl_and_horse

Sat, July 21, 10:00 AM

Chubb Park, Chester

Morris County 4-H Fair

Arts & Entertainment

See What's Happening in Morris County's Community Gardens During "Open Gates" Weekend

July 11, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ –  On Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., explore what’s growing in your local community gardens at the Morris County Community Garden Open Gates Weekend.

The latest buzz surrounding food and health topics center on the growing number of community gardens across the country, as they foster civic engagement, offer support to local food ...

How About a Montville Twp Staycation?

July 16, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Staying in Montville Township this summer? How about a Montville staycation? There’s lots to do in the township, all throughout the summer.

If you’re free on Tuesday nights, take in some music as the recreation department’s free summer concert series has started. Bands such as the Chapel band, Degrees Below Zero and Arena will be rocking at the ...

Montville's Hero and POW Hjalmar Johansson Dies

July 1, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville resident and World War II prisoner of war Hjalmar Johansson died suddenly on June 30. He was 92.

Johansson was a nose gunner in the Air Force during WWII in a B-24 bomber aircraft. He was shot down during his first mission and then survived six months in a German prisoner of war camp. One of 17,000 prisoners, he was freed by the Russian forces. By that ...

Montville Township Public Schools Named National District of Character; Lazar Middle School Named National School of Character

July 12, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville Township Public Schools was one of only five districts in the nation to be named a 2018 National District of Character by Character.org, a nonprofit organization that validates character initiatives in schools and communities around the world. In addition, Montville Township Public Schools’ Robert R. Lazar Middle School has been named a 2018 National School ...

Prescription Drug Drop Installed at County Govt. Center in Morristown Offers Safe Disposal Site for Prescription Drugs

July 15, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ – Morris County employees and residents now have an additional location, inside the county government complex in Morristown, to safely and conveniently dispose of unwanted or leftover prescription drugs.

A new prescription drug drop box has been added to the lobby of the Morris County Administration and Records Building, which is located at 10 Court St. in Morristown, ...

Hillsborough Cops Take a Break for Coffee and Conversation with Residents

July 16, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The baristas at Starbucks got some help last week right after the lunch crowd crush, with more than a dozen Hillsborough police officers in uniform helping to serve coffee, frappuccinos, shakes, cappuccinos and pastries – mixed in with some earnest conversations.

Led by Police Chief Darren Powell, who spoke with customers and PBA President Chris Giraldi, who ...

Summer Adoption Event at the Montville Animal Shelter

July 17, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ - If you’re considering  a furry addition to your family, the summer season is the perfect time to provide a shelter dog or cat with a loving home. To encourage pet adoption and bring even more joy to your homes this season, the Montville Animal Shelter is hosting a adoption event on July 28, 2018!

On July 28, 2018 enjoy discounted fees on all animals ...

Columns

Declaration of Independence – What is it?

July 4, 2018

The definition of a free country is where the government does not control what people say or do for political reasons and where people can express their opinions without punishment. The transition from a totalitarian state to a free country will be long and slow.

In a 2017 report Freedom House said that of the 195 countries assessed, 87 (45%) were rated Free, 59 (30%) Partly Free, ...

OPEN HOUSES This Weekend July 14 & 15, 2018

The following homes have OPEN HOUSES presented by RE/MAX NEIGHBORHOOD PROPERTIES this weekend.

SATURDAY, JULY 14:

 From 12 - 2 p.m.

  4 Hickory Drive, Montville

  Click HERE to see full listing.

 

  From 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.

  25 Kanouse Lane, Montville

  Click HERE to see full listing.

 

 From 11 a.m. to 1 ...

OPEN HOUSES This Weekend July 7 & 8, 2018

The following homes have OPEN HOUSES presented by RE/MAX NEIGHBORHOOD PROPERTIES this weekend.

SUNDAY, JULY 8:

  From 1 - 4 p.m.

  63 Francine Avenue, West Caldwell

  Click HERE to see the Full Listing.

 

  From 12 - 2 p.m.

  11A Oklahoma Avenue, Montville

  Click HERE to see the Full Listing.

 

Century 21 Open Houses This Weekend

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are the Century 21 Open Houses for this weekend:

Saturday, July 7 from 1- 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using FGPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)

Sunday, July 8 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using FGPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
3 Louis Drive, Montville
8 ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...

Pet Corner

Summer Adoption Event at the Montville Animal Shelter

July 17, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ - If you’re considering  a furry addition to your family, the summer season is the perfect time to provide a shelter dog or cat with a loving home. To encourage pet adoption and bring even more joy to your homes this season, the Montville Animal Shelter is hosting a adoption event on July 28, 2018!

On July 28, 2018 enjoy discounted fees on all animals ...

Summer Adoption Event at the Montville Animal Shelter

July 17, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ - If you’re considering  a furry addition to your family, the summer season is the perfect time to provide a shelter dog or cat with a loving home. To encourage pet adoption and bring even more joy to your homes this season, the Montville Animal Shelter is hosting a adoption event on July 28, 2018!

On July 28, 2018 enjoy discounted fees on all animals ...