The End of ENN


Micah Tolton

ENN Writers mourn the death of the two Editor in Chief’s

Whitney Steed, ENN Editor

Too often we just get in our car and just start driving. Too often we pick up our cell phone and send a quick text. Rarely do we stop and think about what the cost of taking our eyes off the road will be, but for every student a part of Lake Ridge High School’s Eagle Nation News staff, the cost is very real.

On Thursday, April 6, 2017 ENN’s Editors-in-Chief, Sydney Johnson and Jacob Uggen, were killed by student driver who was texting and driving. Uggen’s car had broken down so Johnson was giving him a ride home. While they were on Cannon Drive, another student driver took his eyes off the road to send a quick text. It only took a few seconds to send that text but in those few seconds the lives of the two teenagers were taken.

The deaths of the two editors has ultimately led to the shutting down of ENN. With the staff members trying to cope with losing Uggen and Johnson, it makes it hard for them to continue on. Mr. John Sohel, the adviser for the newspaper at Lake Ridge, believes that they aren’t in a position to continue ENN at the moment.

“We are shutting down ENN for two reasons: the practical reason is because we had the heart and backbone of our newspaper tragically removed and we are just not in a position to move forward. On the personal side we need time to mourn and cry. With the help of Sydney and Jacob, we’ve done stuff with this program that no one else thought was possible. They pointed us in the right direction for becoming quite successful. We’ve had more people read our paper and gotten national awards. Personally I’m not really thinking about the paper right now,” said Sohel.

Every student on the ENN staff was heavily effected by these deaths. For several of the students they were losing their life long friends. Micah Tolton, ENN staff member, has had the opportunity to get close to both editors and admits ENN will never be the same again.

“We’re getting through it day by day. For me ENN is like my home. I have lost two family members, two friends and two role models and because of that I am devastated,” said Tolton.

Johnson and Uggen had big dreams for the future. Johnson was planning on going to University of Texas at Tyler and Uggen was going to attend the University of North Texas in the Fall. Everyone who knew them believed they would go on to do great things and accomplish much. To think that we’ll never know what they would have accomplished is another reason these deaths have had a strong effect on ENN.

“I’ve been teaching for a number of years now and the loss of Sydney and Jacob makes five students I’ve lost during my teaching career. It’s tough for me because I want to cry but at the same time I need to be strong for the rest of the kids. But I would trade all that just for one more moment with them. To tell them that I loved them and that I was proud of them,” said Sohel.

A harsh reality of the car crash that took Johnson and Uggen’s lives is the fact that this accident was preventable. If the other student driver hadn’t picked up his phone, ENN would still have their editors, parents would still have their children and the world would still have two amazing people.

Instead ENN, their families and their community is forced to stand around two graves celebrating the lives of two teenagers.

“Their deaths have affected me personally because it makes me really sad and feel hurt. I am going to be really depressed for a while especially since they always hold it down even when I make mistakes on my articles and they’re so nice. And to think that their deaths could’ve been prevented easily by just putting it down makes me mad. It’s not worth it. It it’s definitely not worth it at all,” said Johnny Beaman, one of the staff members at ENN.

“Both of our editors got killed because some student couldn’t wait five seconds to text and because of this my two best friends were killed. I feel empty inside. Their deaths make me angry and sad, because they could still be living if the kid would have waited to text,” said Melinda Weenig, another ENN staff member.

It may seem like a text that takes a few seconds to send won’t be that big of deal, but next thing you know it may be you who swerves into another lane. When you text and drive you’re not just hurting yourself. Many people will suffer.

This story was a part of the “Put It Down Save A Life” project. At Lake Ridge, a student was “killed” every 15 minutes to represent the statistic that a teenage driver is killed every 15 minutes in America because of distracted driving. Uggen and Johnson were a part of the PIDSAL project.

These students were not actually killed in a car wreck. However that doesn’t mean that another student in the United States won’t be killed due to distracted driving. The entire purpose of the project as well as the article was to show the consequences of distracted driving and that the cost isn’t worth it.