Car bash a smashing good time

POULSBO — By the time half of Wednesday’s school day had passed, the Hyundai Excel parked behind the North Kitsap High School Gym was a mess.

Blows from a sledgehammer had put fist-sized holes in the windshield. All the side windows were smashed and shattered. Fluid dripped slowly from the undercarriage.

And it was all for a good cause.

Leaders in North Kitsap (LINK) held a “car smash” Wednesday afternoon to raise money for drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs. The car smash came in the middle of drug and alcohol abuse prevention week at the school and students (or staff) could pay $1 for two swings at the car with a sledgehammer or an aluminum baseball bat.

Most were happy to oblige, although students and staff were surprised by the toughness of the car, which had been donated by Gateway Towing.

The windshield folded around the head of the sledgehammer and several students had to use more muscle than expected to free it from the glass’ embrace; the hood took several blows and a little bit of strategy to dislodge.

Other parts proved uncompromising as well.

“The mirrors were tough,” said baseball player Nic Stearns, who had hammered both side-view mirrors until they dangled perilously from the sides of the car. “I loosened them up, though.”

As students paid their money, donned safety goggles and gloves and swung away, friends and classmates shouted encouragement — and instruction.

“Bust out the orange blinker!” one student shouted.

“Just smash it!” another suggested.

The license plate holder, which read “Beautiful Bainbridge Island,” was another popular target.

“This is extremely fun,” said student Hans Eldridge. “For one, I like beating things. For two... the looks of it.”

Shortly after Eldridge took his swings, sophomore Michael Storey was eager to get his in as well.

“I want to pay more money, dude,” he said. “I’ve already put four bucks into it. It’s almost worth it to pay more at once, so you can keep swinging. You want to keep hitting it, but they only give you two swings.”

The car bash was just one of several activities LINK sponsored for the week.

On Monday, students could participate in “Fatal Reflections,” a program where students’ pictures are fed into a computer program and printed out with wounds that could result from a car accident.

On Tuesday, students could don vision-impaired goggles — goggles that simulate vision one might have after drinking alcohol — and attempt to walk a line in the commons.

On Thursday, students could sign a nation-wide pledge to stay alcohol- and drug-free. They also handed out ribbons to friends, mentors, teachers or classmates they appreciate.

Leaders in North Kitsap advisor Jo Ann Salwei said some of the more dramatic activities were toned down because many students are still shaken from the two suicides that happened earlier this year. There was still plenty for the LINK students to do.

“This is their big week. It’s their week to shine,” she said.

Many LINK students helped with the car smash on Wednesday.

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