Lachie Scarsbrook was a SADD member and National Leader back in 2014 when he attended Roncalli College. We caught up with Lachie who shared his experience of being involved with SADD and where it has helped him get to today.
1) What are your memories of being involved with SADD?
Attending the SADD Conference was definitely one of the highlights of my whole time at SADD. I got to meet so many awesome, like-minded people (which was important in helping me realise I was part of something big), some of which I still bump into on occasion (and they’re always down for a yarn). I also really enjoyed the creative freedom of SADD, as there is no fixed blueprint on how to run things.
2) What are you up to now?
I’m currently in my fifth year of study at the University of Otago, completing my Masters in Paleogenetics (think the ‘science’ behind Jurassic Park). My research is focused on understanding how New Zealand’s unique lizard species have been influenced by Polynesian/European colonization and climate change.
3) What skills or experience did you gain from your time with SADD that might have helped you get where you are today?
SADD was instrumental in helping to give me the confidence to stand up for my values and develop my own moral compass, rather than to shy away and do/think what others thought was ‘cool’. This can be a major challenge in a high school environment, especially when your own opinions differ from those of your friends. However, it was times like these that gave me valuable experience in arguing for what I believed in. Also, having to talk to large groups of people helped to boost my confidence in public speaking, which is a real asset, especially in the university environment.
4) Any advice for current or aspiring SADD members?
Get creative and think outside the box! Most high school students know SADD exists, but it’s your job to get the message across. As part of Remember September (now called SAFER September), I organised an interactive, visual display at Roncalli College where road signs (and other roading equipment) that had been mangled in local crashes were placed around the school, alongside chalk outlines of our SADD committee. Afterwards, we commissioned a local artist to sculpt the debris into a beer bottle, to further reiterate the importance of sober driving (which was an issue in our small, rural city). These confronting displays not only got the attention of the school, but local media picked up the story and broadcast our message to the wider community.
Also, you really do get out of it what you put into it! At the end of the day, people will always be responsive to enthusiastic and passionate leaders, compared with those who are more nonchalant and standoffish.
Thanks so much Lachie for sharing your story with us!
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