School shows students consequences of drunk driving

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Poland Seminary High School had their Prom Promise on April 27 in hopes of preventing their students from drinking and driving. The event featured a speaker and a live demonstration of first responders at a car crash.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Poland Seminary High School's demonstration of a car accident featured students, first responders and the life flight workers. Pictured are the various emergency workers with students Jake Snyder, Luke Lankitus, Olivia Barrett and Sarah Bury, who acted as victims during the demonstration.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Poland decided to use students from Prom Court as victims in the accident during the Prom Promise demonstration to give the presentation more meaning for the students watching it. The students had different degrees of injuries in the demonstration. One even acted as she were dead.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The Prom Promise demonstration happens once every two years so all students see it as a junior or senior in school. The event featured fire trucks, ambulances, police cars and the Metro Life Flight helicopter, which landed in the senior parking lot during the event.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Poland Seminary High School invited speaker Michael Gershe to the school to talk about the dangers of drinking and driving. Gershe has been affected by drunk driving personally, losing both his mother and best friend. Pictured, he started the presentation on a lighter note, having two students toss beanbags back and forth while wearing impairment goggles.

By ZACK SHIVELY

zshively@vindy.com

Poland Seminary High School had their Prom Promise event on April 27 to deter students from drinking and driving on prom night.

The event, for the school’s juniors and seniors, included a speaker and a drunk driving accident demonstration from emergency services. They have a speaker each year, but only have the demonstration every other year.

“We want to get everyone back to their families as they left them,” said principal Kevin Snyder. He said he hopes the programs give the students perspective without having to go through something like this, as he has. “It can happen in the blink of an eye.”

The program began with speaker Michael Gershe of The Magic of Life, an impaired driving prevention program. Gershe started on a light tone. He had students come on stage and wear impairment goggles, which simulated drunken vision. The students tried to toss a beanbag back and forth, unsuccessfully.

He then spoke about how drunk driving had affected his life. His family had been in an accident caused by a drunk driver that killed his mother. Later in life, his college friend was in a fatal crash while intoxicated as well.

The students filed outside after the presentation. In the front of the school, local emergency services had placed vehicles in a crash scene for a demonstration.

They placed members of the prom court in the scene to act as victims of the crash. The students wore special makeup to look like blood and wounds.

“We want to give them the idea of what could really happen,” said Christine Gotti, one of the organizers for the event. She said they add in their peers to the demonstration because it makes the it more personal for the students.

The fire department played sound effects of a crash on loud speakers. Seconds later, fire trucks, police cars and ambulances rushed around the corner to the scene. The first responders began pulling the students from the wreckage using numerous piece of equipment.

Each of the students faked different injuries, including one who played as if he were in critical condition. The ambulance strapped him to a stretcher. Moments later, the Life Flight helicopter fly overhead and landed in the senior parking lot. The strapped him to their stretcher and placed him in the back of the helicopter, but they did not lift off.

Another student laid on the front of the car as if she had been tossed through the windshield. They had to pry the top of the vehicle off and place her on a stretcher with a white sheet over her as if she died.

“It’s a great opportunity for the kids to see what occurs on a bad decision,” said resource officer Steve Kent. He said he hopes that the students think of this as a learning experience and understand the pain that comes with losing a friend.

The crash presentation happens once every other year so that all students see it either as a junior or a senior. The school hopes the students will make wise decisions on their prom night.

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