Prom and party season is here. And an energetic group of Staples students wants to make sure that’s not a recipe for tragedy.
The Teen Awareness Group presented its annual Grim Reaper Day today. It’s a powerful, thought-provoking — and yes, sobering — sight. The impact is magnified because the message is sent by teenagers, to friends and classmates.
A demolished car stood outside the school. The flag stood at half mast. Three MADD representatives told their harrowing tales.
To vividly portray the daily US toll of 48 drunk-driving fatalities, a police officer and EMS responder walked into 1 classroom every 30 minutes. They told those students about a classmate’s “death” — using a real drunk-driving story.
But perhaps the most important activity was a documentary. It depicted the drinking behavior of Staples students — based on their own reports, in voluntary polls taken throughout the year.
The poll — also shown on blood-red posters plastered around school — found:
- 60 percent of seniors polled have driven drunk
- 50 percent of all students polled have been in a car with a drunk driver (including parents)
- 81 percent of all students polled drink alcohol
- 65 percent of all students polled are concerned about a friend’s drinking
“In the past, the message on Grim Reaper Day has been ‘look at what drunk driving can do in general,” said Nick Cion, a junior and TAG officer.
“This was a risk,” TAG member Jackie Dimitrief added. “But based on what we’re hearing, it worked.”
“We didn’t want people to just sit back and listen,” Nick emphasized. “We wanted this to be about how we can prevent ourselves from being statistics.”