BRANFORD — Every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver, according to www.madd.org, the Mother Against Drunk Driving (MADD) website. That’s one death every 50 minutes.

To raise awareness of the dangers of drunk driving, the student body at Ferrara Elementary School in East Haven engaged in a spirited Walk-A-Thon last Friday. The walk was in support of the 2018 Walk Like MADD this Saturday, Oct. 13 on the Branford Green.

The students, chanting “M-A-D-D, M-A-D-D” as they circled the track on a brilliant autumn day, have raised $2,000 through pledges from their family and friends. That’s up from the $1,300 they took in last year.

In light of that healthy support, Ferrara School has become an official sponsor of Saturday’s event, according to Lori Chamberlain, a teacher at Ferrara and member of Rebels With A Cause, a team that will be participating in Saturday’s walk.

“This is the only school in the state that’s doing this,” said U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3., who walked alongside the students and later, while donning a superhero mask, referred to them as her “superheroes.”

“This is about making good choices,” Principal Paul DeBernardo said. “You don’t need to be behind the wheel of a car to understand the dangers of drunk driving.”

Superintendent Erica Forti agreed. “We believe our students are capable of making a difference,” she said. “Just to make these kids aware of this issue could save lives down the line.”

The 2018 Branford Walk Like MADD gathers on Saturday, Oct. 13 outside the Branford Town Hall, 1019 Main St., on the Branford Green. Registration 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. The walk begins at 10 a.m.

For more information or to register in advance, visit walklikemadd.org/branford or call 203-764-2566. For more information about MADD CT, call 877-ASK-MADD or email michelle.chamberlain@madd.org.

Lisa Reisman