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Never Forget: A Girl’s Death Causes Students to Seek Safer Streets

Christina Morris-Ward, a sophomore at Seneca Valley High School, passed away on October 31st after being hit by a truck on Germantown Road.

It was approximately 10:20AM when our principal announced that she had passed.
I can still remember the cries of her friends from across the hallway. Our school held a candle-lit vigil to commemorate her life. Students wore red
bandanas around their arms to express their remembrance of Christina. –Carmen Huynh, Junior at Seneca Valley High School

Perhaps this tragic event could have been avoided. If MCPS had a pedestrian safety education initiative, this might not have happened.

Juliana Khader, a sophomore at Rockville High School did not know Morris-Ward especially well, but the two had talked on occasion.

“[When I found out that she died] I honestly was speechless,” Khader said. “It’s hard to think that a girl that you’ve been around with and talked to before is gone.”

Khader went on to say that Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) should have a pedestrian safety education program.

“I think MCPS students should be educated about pedestrian safety. There are many students that I know that don’t even look when they cross the street. It seems as if they don’t even know the risks. They think cars will stop for them, and not all of them will. So yeah I think students should be educated about these things,” Khader said.

But hindsight is always 20-20. Who knows if a pedestrian safety initiative would have saved her life? One could argue that everyone knows the dangers of jaywalking. It is illegal. Doesn’t that mean anything?

Carmen Huynh, a junior at Seneca Valley High School, said, “The scary part of her story is that what happened to her could have happened to anyone. I have several friends that cross Germantown Road every morning to commute to school.”

“I cannot fathom what went through her friends’ and family’s mind when the announcement was made. A person’s youth is similar to a bubble of moments, filled with hopes and dreams that are encapsulated in a fleeting, untouchable period of time. When a young person passes away, these hopes and dreams are shattered along with the bubble that once encapsulated them. For this reason, we are especially shaken when a young person passes away in such a preventable manner. This is why it’s so crucial to raise awareness for pedestrian safety; we cannot afford to lose any more young people, nor shatter the hopes and dreams that they, their parents, and teachers once had for them.” Huynh said as she reflected on the events of that day.

5,900 people are killed every year from jaywalking according to the National Safety Council. We must make an effort to pay attention when we are walking. Hopefully the knowledge that students have gained from Morris-Ward’s death will cause them to reevaluate their awareness when traveling on foot.

Christopher Kwamé Addai, a friend of Morris-Ward and a sophomore at Seneca Valley High School, thinks that “[the school] should have cross guards in the streets again… and they should just remind kids what happened to those people who died so it won’t happen again.”

Kwamé Addai also started a Facebook group in remembrance of Christina, and says that he and his friends still post pictures and song lyrics on Morris-Ward’s timeline, so she is never forgotten.

Article by Christina McCann, SAC press correspondent, Sophomore at Blair High School

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