Fergus McMullan wants to make a difference.
And he has been given an opportunity to do just that, selected to be part of the Students Against Dangerous Driving (Sadd) national leadership programme.
The St Kevin’s College pupil joined the national ranks, after being involved in his school’s programme for the past two years.
It helped open his eyes to the dangers of driving, and there were “quite a lot of unnecessary deaths” on New Zealand roads, especially in Waitaki, Fergus said.
“Even if you don’t know the person . . . it’s quite shocking. It really kind of gets to you,” the 17-year-old said.
Not wearing seatbelts, overloading cars, not driving to licence conditions, speeding and drink driving were all problems. He wanted to educate people on making changes on the roads.
“It’s not easy, but it’s not extremely difficult just to make people aware – there’s small things that can make a big difference.
“It would be nice to try and have something to say . . . even if I didn’t do much, I still did something.”
He was nervous and excited to be selected for the national programme, but he was supported by fellow St Kevin’s pupil Sun Yi Tao, who is also a national Sadd representative. Fergus was still discovering his role at a national level, and would attend a conference in October to meet fellow leaders and work on projects for next year.
It was also the people involved in Sadd that attracted him to the programme.
“I just cannot speak highly enough of the people.”
St Kevin’s Sadd programme had about 40 members, and Fergus was one of the group’s co-leaders.
“It’s really good to have a team that works hard – that’s what really makes a difference.”
St Kevin’s pupils were working towards Sadd’s “Safer September”, encouraging conversations on driver behaviour and promoting positive changes, and were finalising projects at the moment, he said.
The programme was very popular at St Kevin’s and it helped provide a platform for them in the community.
“The school really tries to encourage you to do service. People want to be there, they encourage them to get involved – it’s quite rewarding.”