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Burges, Franklin seniors named to national teen driving safety advisory board

Natalie Garcia       Paola Barron

(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT -- Sept. 23, 2020) —Two EPISD students will help one of the nation’s largest teen-driving awareness organizations develop effective programming aimed at keeping high-schoolers safe behind the wheel. 

Franklin High’s Natalie Garcia and Burges High’s Paola Barron, both seniors, were named to the 2020-21 Teens In the Driver Seat Advisory Board for the 2020-21 school year and will join 29 other students from around the country to serve as leaders and ambassadors. 

Teens in the Driver Seat is peer-to-peer program for young drivers that develops awareness of the top driving dangers for teens to prevent crashes. 

“As a member this board, you must participate in meetings, assist in organizing program-oriented events and activities in your community and most importantly provide ideas, safety messages and educational items,” Garcia said, also a CCTE student.

Garcia, whose CCTE teacher Sylvia Garcia encouraged her to apply, knew it would be a good opportunity as a new driver. 

“This program encourages teens to spread the word among their friends about driving risks, and empowers them to make smart choices while behind the wheel, and as passengers,” Natalie Garcia said.  

Barron is chair of Burges StuCo’s Drugs, Alcohol, Safety Health (DASH) committee making the Teens in the Driver Seat Advisory Board position a natural fit. 

“My role as a member of the advisory board is for the public to gain an understanding of the dangers of driving under the influence and teen car crashes,” Barron said. “One of the public speakers is a man in San Antonio who was involved in a car crash because of an impaired driver which cost him both of his legs and is now in a wheelchair. More stories and statistics are in the Teens in the Driver Seat website. As part of the board, my goal is to make sure my high school, Burges, and my hometown city of El Paso understand the dangers.”

As advisory board members, both Garcia and Barron will:

  • Provide insight on how to engage their peers and sustain their interest in Teens in the Driver Seat
  • Assist in organizing program-oriented events and activities
  • Provide feedback, ideas and opinions on new program materials, safety messages, promotional items and related elements
  • Participate in quarterly meetings
  • Serve as ambassadors and leaders for Teens in the Driver Seat

For information on Teens in the Driver Seat, go to


Story by Reneé de Santos