Students, alum film PSA to promote bus, traffic safety in California schools

Lauren Sonnenberg

Students filmed a bus safety video Saturday, Nov. 3 in honor of Julia Siegler ’14, who was hit and killed by a speeding car while crossing the street to board her school bus in 2010. The film was made to enlighten Harvard-Westlake members and employees of Atlantic Express bus company on how to behave safely near buses in order to avoid future accidents. Jake Feiler ’13 headed the project, using money from the Julia Siegler Memorial Fund to hire a bus driver, bus and videographer for the film.

The film incorporates dangers that could come up from the moment a student wakes up until they arrive at their first class. Feiler plans to open the video with a poem written by Jody Siegler, Julia’s mother.

Feiler hopes the video will be sent to other schools in the area.

Feiler and Max Theony ’13 met with administrators last year to discuss how funds from the memorial fund would be used, and Father J. Young proposed the idea of a bus safety video. Feiler watched  videos that Atlantic Express company currently shows its bus drivers and realized they were “boring and dull,” Feiler said.

Michelle Paster  ’98 shot the bus safety video after upper school Visual Arts Department Head Cheri Gaulke put her in touch with Feiler.

Feiler and Theony plan to put the video on the Harvard-Westlake school website by May 1, the planned date of completion, so that when parents sign up for bus service, they will see the safety video. The video will also be shown to all incoming seventh graders and parents.

Feiler sent an email to students asking for volunteers. He said there was a lot of enthusiasm from the student body about honoring Siegler’s life and helping to create the video.

Harvard-Westlake parents were also involved in the making of the video.

“I got involved because safety and driving is a very important issue to me,” Heidi Haddad [Shana ’14] said. “I think of Julia every time I drive and am happy to be a part of this project to honor her.”

“We decided that this is a lasting way to have a reminder of Julia at the school and at the same time do something helpful and good for the community,” Feiler said.