Political Science

Former Student's Battle Pays Off


Ex-student's battle pays off as driver's ed returns to Lake County

Brad Buck
Staff Writer

LEESBURG - After several years' absence, driver's education is back in Lake County public schools.

Students at Leesburg High School began taking the course Monday. It will be taught in the classroom for spring semester and behind-the-wheel training is planned for summer.

The idea to reinstate the course came from Heather Coiro, a Mount Dora High School graduate who had classmates and friends die in traffic accidents.

Coiro spent nearly a year cajoling the School District and School Board to put driver's education back into the curriculum.

I am so glad to hear that students are starting the driver's education course today at Leesburg High," Coiro wrote in an e-mail Monday to LHS Principal Nancy Velez. "I am grateful that you were willing to take on this endeavor while others turned down the opportunity."

Some 19 students enrolled in the first class Monday, according to an e-mail from Velez to Andrea Guogas, director of secondary education for the School District.

"We believe as the word spreads, that more kids will sign up," Velez wrote. " ... The classes will be full."

Coiro said she, too, has high hopes for the program and agrees with Velez that demand for the course will rise.

Coiro said she wants to observe the class. She also told Velez that American Bikers Aimed Toward Education is willing to do a motorcycle safety presentation for the classes.

The Florida Highway Patrol has offered demonstrations and safety seminars, Coiro said. FHP has materials including educational videos and rollover simulators, she said.

Local fire and sheriff's departments have also expressed interest in working with the students.

"There are many avenues that can be taken to enrich the learning experience even more, and I hope some of them will be utilized," Coiro said.

Driver's education was cut from Lake County's curriculum several years ago because the state added more core academic courses to the required curriculum, administrators said. Driver's education is an elective.

Heather Coiro
Raymond James Trust Company
200 Colonial Center Parkway STE 170
Lake Mary, FL 32746