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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Speaker warns against drunk driving

Sarah Panzau,a two-time Junior College All-American volleyball player who lost her arm in a drunk-driving accident, speaks to an audience at the Gallagher Theater on Thursday, Sept. 10 at the Student Union about how to avoid negative peer pressure and how to make good life choices.

It took one mistake six years ago to change Sarah Panzau’s life forever.

When Panzau was 21 years old she chose to drive home drunk and crashed her car after missing a highway exit, almost killing herself and severing her left arm from her body.

Panzau, now 27, travels nine months out of the year around the country speaking to college and high school students in an effort to prevent them from making the same mistakes she did.

She spoke last night, in the Gallagher Theater located in the Student Union Memorial Center, to about 100 UA students and 16 high school students from Howenstine High Magnet School.

“”I thought it went amazing,”” Panzau said. “”It was very well received. I can tell by the looks on their faces and the responses afterward.””

Many students attending said the lecture had an impact on them because Panzau is a real person they can relate to, not a statistic. 

“”I enjoyed it,”” said Alexandra Bulisache, elementary education junior and president of the UA volleyball club. “”It really touched me. She has a very strong personality and presence. The emotion she put into it was way more powerful than any statistic.””

Panzau, who dropped out of college, also talks about the importance of school, family and finding true friends.

As a two-time member of the National Junior College Athletic Association woman’s volleyball All-American team, she also encourages students to follow their dreams.

“”No matter what hopes and dreams you have for your future, you can obtain them,”” Panzau said.

After sustaining her injuries, she accomplished her dream of playing on the USA Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team in 2005.

“”If one person (at each event) gets the message and is impacted then that’s a lot of lives that I save just by telling my story,”” Panzau said. “”That makes it worth it for me.””

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