“Grim Reaper Day” Stalks Staples

It happens each spring, in high schools around the country. Juniors get their driver’s licenses. Proms offer temptations. And drunk driving accidents tear apart countless lives.

Every spring for nearly 2 decades, Staples High School’s Teen Awareness Group has organized a Grim Reaper Day.

Using an array of educational tools — wrecked cars in the parking lot, posters on the walls, “Grim Reapers” or police officers pulling students out of class — TAG has done its job.

Among the most effective parts of the day are personal stories. This year’s speaker held students spellbound as he described driving the car that killed his friend. In every way imaginable, his life has never been the same.

TAG also produces videos. This year’s — shown here below — hit close to home.

Former Staples basketball player Mike Krysiuk recalled his trip to Vista, New York for beer after a game.

The driver of the Triumph hit a backhoe at 100 miles an hour. Mike spent 7 weeks in a coma, then had to learn to walk and talk all over again.

Drinking and driving is a complex social issue. Teenagers can be impulsive creatures.

But — thanks to hard-working TAG members, and an administration that supports them — Staples does whatever it can to make sure that no student joins the grim statistics that filled the halls today.

7 responses to ““Grim Reaper Day” Stalks Staples

  1. Dorian Barth

    When I was in high school, students
    who were ready to become drivers were shown a movie of clips from
    awful highway accidents. It was
    horrifying stuff and hopefully scared
    some kids into being a little more careful. This seems to be the same kind of thing.

  2. Mike, you are so right … you said the right thing… the kids who want to be popular at any cost, like me, I was wanting to fit in … we pay the price for that
    and people need to know it is possibly the most fatal thing that could happen texting drinking driving .. no no no DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT

  3. Theresa Bairaktaris

    Michael so glad you are getting your story out there. Not just children, the world needs to know the precussions of drinking & driving not only ruins your life but all family members. Everyone should hear & watch stories like this, it may help you think before getting behind the wheel of any vehicle. It may just save your life. No one can drive safely under the influence, NO ONE
    Theresa Bairaktaris

  4. Lori Russell

    Mike, this is such a vitally important message for all teenagers to see. Thank you for your eloquent and touching video. This is “must see TV” for ALL teenagers! Young people all have an air of invincibility about them; that this can’t possibly happen to them. You thought the same thing back then, and are living proof that the worst can happen, even to those that don’t expect it.

  5. Phil Perri

    Much appreciation to TAG and others who work so hard to educate the youth (and “grown-ups”) about DUI. The unfortunate part is this also gives people a false sense of security that enough is being done. Open your eyes, Westport. Any given day at Staples kids are buying/selling vodka disguised in Poland Spring bottles and at football games there is not even an attempt made to hide the drinking, with half the spectators flying high. Security? What security? Private security that ride around all day in their car trying not to be involved. Don’t blame the school either. I have held my daughter out of all after-parties for the Counties Ball and the upcoming prom this year because there will be alcohol served….and the parents of the host student know about it! “We’d rather they drink at home than outside somewhere”. Are you kidding me? Aside from the fact this position sends the message of tacit approval for drinking, these parents are breaking the law! Even worse, they subject other parents’ kids to alcohol without the parents’ knowledge or consent. Talk about playing with fire! If you have a junior or senior going to a prom or ball….you better ask the question and speak to the parents PLEASE!

    We need police resource officers in each school in Westport or, at a minimum, Staples. Most surrounding districts have this and have seen great benefit. Forget the private security, no longer needed. The resource officer is pro-active, runs educational programs, interacts with students and becomes a familiar, friendly face for students to reach out to if necessary. Sandy Hook? Might never have happened or been mitigated if there was an armed resource officer in that school. We’ll spend a million dollars on new door locks but refuse a better, less expensive solution? The WPD has endorsed this program for years but have been stymied by the BOE and our former Superintendent. Wake up Westport…..TAG is wonderful, but not enough by far. Am I the only one concerned about these issues?

  6. Mike Krysiuk

    Hi everyone, I first want to thank the great TAG team for letting me participate in the activities on GRIM Reaper day. I hope that I made a good impression on working with TAG on creating the documentary. I want to thank Dan in putting it on the the 06880 site. This way it will teach more people. If TAG needs or wants me to help in any way, I want them to know that I am a phone call away and I would love to be part of the team and help out. Let’s start educating people about this problem and start shooting for the sun together because even if we miss we land among the stars and that is a great place to be. Thanks

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. Maryann Krysiuk Schiff

    Hi Mike, This is your sister, Maryann and I am so proud of you for sharing your story to help other teenagers …. Love Always …