SOUTH FORSYTH — For the second straight year, a Forsyth County student is being recognized for making something positive out of a tragedy.
Lambert High School junior Madison Romeo was recently named to Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s National Teen Influencer Panel.
“This is my second year doing it,” Romeo said. “And it’s just a group of 10 teens selected from a few hundred applicants.”
For Romeo being chosen was a positive outcome of a family tragedy.
“It’s really, really special to me. It feels like such a great accomplishment, because I work with MADD so often, and because my grandmother was killed in a drunk driving crash,” Romeo said. “It feels like I took something bad and made it into something good.”
Romeo has been doing activities with the group since 2007, when the vehicle in which her late grandmother was traveling was struck by a drunk driver in Ellijay. According to her family, it was the other driver’s fifth DUI, and he is currently serving 10 years in prison.
“When somebody in your family is killed or injured, MADD is almost immediate in contacting you,” Romeo said. “They contacted our family and so we went to their candlelight vigils and their walks, and things like that.”
Romeo got her first speaking experience when the group invited her family to attend a victim impact panel.
“My dad started speaking [to the group] first, and I got up behind him and I said, ‘Daddy can I talk.’ And so I started speaking and I really haven’t stopped since,” she said.
“I do work with the Georgia chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and I’ve been speaking at different panels since I was 11 or 12.”
Romeo, who is an honor student and involved in Lambert’s theater program, also participates in the Power of You(th), a part of MADD that encourages teens not to drink alcohol.
“One specific thing we do is we work on programs to help spread awareness of underage drinking and drinking and driving and all the things that go along with it,” she said.