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Local View: Help students get driver's licenses

On Friday, Oct. 19, the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Board will host a fundraising dinner at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth. Proceeds from the evening will contribute to the Driver's Education Fund established by the organization. Driving is a basic part of becoming responsible as an adult in the workforce, traveling to school, and being involved in the community.

Treasure JenkinsDuring the past 18 months, Clayton Jackson McGhie board members have identified an economic barrier for a number of students in the Duluth public schools. A $400 registration fee is required to enroll in driver's education at both East and Denfeld high schools. As an organization dedicated to creating equitable access to resources, Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Inc. made the decision to attempt to eliminate this hardship for low-income families.

"A $400 fee should not prevent good driving instruction for the juniors in our high schools," board co-chairman Stephan Witherspoon said.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the most reliable source for good driving information is the experts. Professional training will not only offer the proper rules of the road but additionally teach a sense of personal responsibility, leading to well-informed, confident drivers. Most driver's-education courses show the consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol. In fact, law enforcement officers often visit these classes to present what they have seen as a result of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicants.

"(Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Inc.) wants to see young people become safe drivers for life," emeritus board member Bob Grytdahl said.

Members of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Board recognize that parents in low-income brackets may not have access to a car in order to train their sons or daughters. Driver's-education courses provide unbiased, practical information that may be outside of a parent's knowledge base, such as car mechanics. Students are exposed to the information longer, are tested on all aspects of it more than once, and are required to put the rules of the road into action in front of an instructor and their peers. Studies show that this practice helps people remember the information better and drive safer when they are out on the road by themselves, according to the DMV.

Thus far, Clayton Jackson McGhie has supplied the fee for more than 12 students. We know the importance of having safe drivers on the road, and one-on-one instruction reaps the best outcome.

Join us in our effort to support young people throughout the Duluth community in becoming safe drivers. Join us for an evening of good food, good company, and inspirational music.

Treasure Jenkins is a board member for Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Inc.

If you go

What: Clayton Jackson McGhie autumn fundraising dinner; proceeds to help pay for driver's education for Duluth public school students

When: 6-8:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 19

Where: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth, 835 W. College St.

Tickets: $32 at

Online: For more about Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Inc., go to