Seniors at Stow-Munroe Falls High School participated in the seventh annual Prom Promise presentation on May 10. The presentation is a staged performance that educates students about the dangers of drunk driving and what can happen to those who choose to do so.
"This program really helps bring the consequences of drunk driving to life for our students," said Principal Jeffrey Hartmann. "Drinking and driving can have serious consequences, and it's important that our seniors realize this, particularly before prom."
The presentation began with a staged car crash in the high school parking lot. The senior class watched as police officers and medical professionals arrived and took the passenger who had been thrown out of the windshield to a medical helicopter. Another passenger was cut out of the car and taken away in an ambulance, and one passenger was pronounced dead on scene. Senior students then watched police officers administered a sobriety test to the driver of the car, who was determined to be intoxicated and was arrested. The senior class then moved into the auditorium where a funeral was held for the dead passenger and the driver was put on trial. At the end of the performance, the driver was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and arrested.
The characters in the performance are portrayed each year by students in grades 9 though 11. Actors in this year's scenario were freshman Lukas Capotosta as the driver, junior Kerri Lockard as the dead passenger, sophomore Joey Gresser as the passenger in the ambulance and freshman Sarah Novak as the passenger in the helicopter.
After the hypothetical scenario, community members who have had real experiences with drunk driving spoke to the senior class about its negative consequences. Speakers this year were Danielle Schlea, who spoke about her daughter, 2012 SMFHS graduate Haley Hopkins, who died in a car accident because of an impaired driver; Allison Moncheck, a 2011 Stow graduate who talked about losing her brother, Andrew, who was a 2014 Stow graduate, to a drunk driver; and Mark Streem, who talked about losing his son to an impaired driver.
"Driving drunk can have permanent consequences," said Superintendent Tom Bratten. "These seniors are about to begin the rest of their lives, and it would be tragic if they never had the chance to do so because of a bad decision. As a school district, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to prevent such a tragedy."