May 16, 2012 —
Students with somber expressions lined the perimeter of the Eldred Central High School (ECS) parking lot where a reenactment of a gruesome car crash was underway on May 10. The event was conducted two days before the school prom in order to dramatize the dangers of drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The message was clear: Drinking and driving can lead to disastrous and life-altering outcomes.
ECS staffers Colleen Koenig and Corinne Tonkin organized the staged event, during which five student actors helped to depict the results of an accident caused by drunk driving. ECS student Kelly Smith provided lifelike stage makeup for the actors.
The Jaws of Life were used to sever and remove the tops of the vehicles in order to extract the victims. At each step during the dramatization, an announcer described events to the students, detailing not only what was happening, but also the consequences that would ensue.
The school also holds a “promenade” at the high school just before students travel to the prom location. In addition to providing the opportunity for students to show off their finery, the activity provides an alternative that eliminates the period of time when students are most likely to consume mind-altering substances.
This year, an additional meeting was held for parents, which discussed topics such as the influence of modeling good behavior. “Kids who see their parents consume alcohol and then get into a car and drive are much more likely to repeat the same behavior,” said ECS staffer Kim Gueren, who organized the session through the Recovery Center, based in Monticello.
Responding to the “crash” were the Lumberland and Yulan fire departments, the American Legion Ambulance Service and the New York State Police.
School administrators are pleased to report that the prom, which was held on May 12, went off without a hitch.