In the United States, 94 people die each day in a car accident; one third of those are alcohol related while twenty-five percent are related to texting and driving. For the last several years, automobile accidents have been the leading cause of death for teenagers. At the inception of the Every 15 Minutes program in 1995, statistics showed that every 15 minutes someone in the U.S. was killed in an alcohol related motor vehicle crash. While this statistic has improved to approximately one every 50 minutes, the number of deaths from distracted driving has increased.
Which leads us to one of the seniors rites of passage: PROM! EHS Senior Prom is TOMORROW!
As students decorate and prepare for this special night, it’s important to recognize the last few days at EHS: Operation Prom. Each year, EHS students participate in this pre-prom activity, where they are reminded of the consequences of drinking and driving.
Operation Prom 2018, a collaboration between EHS EAST, EHS Administration, El Dorado Police, El Dorado Fire, ProMed, Young’s Funeral Home, M&A Wrecker Service, and various community members, took place on Thursday and Friday of this week.
On Thursday, the Grim Reaper walked the halls of EHS, pulling a student from class every 15 minutes. While students were gone from class, their obituary was read to the class. When students returned, they wore a t-shirt and had a ghost-like appearance. These students, “the living dead,” attended the rest of their classes, but were not allowed to talk or participate in their normal activities. Each students represented one of the 28 people killed each day due to drunk/distracted driving. This idea, based on the Every 15 Minutes program, was the starting point of Friday’s assembly.
Friday morning, seniors were dismissed to the auditorium to a senior assembly. Students were ushered outside to walk around to the front of the auditorium. To their left was a crash scene, complete with five students in prom attire, all “dead.” If that wasn’t enough to remind students the possible consequences of drinking and driving/distracted driving, students entered the auditorium to a single casket centerstage.
A mock funeral for one of their classmates was held, followed by a powerful speech from Lieutenant Harwell, El Dorado Police. Lieutenant Harwell’s personal story helped bring decisions and actions into perspective.
The program ended with the 21 students who “died” coming to the stage. What a powerful image these students standing on stage were to the audience.
Thank you to all who participated. EAST students and Mrs. Steele would like to thank the following people specifically for all their help:
- EHS Administration for their support and encouragement.
- Coach Vaughn for escorting the students to classes on Thursday.
- Mrs. Freeman for allowing us to use the auditorium the week before High School Musical debuts and for running the audio/visual.
- Sterling Claypoole for officiating the beautiful “mock funeral.”
- Tom Wilson for organizing the crash scene, make-up included.
- Scotty Points for bringing the casket.
- Lieutenant Harwell for speaking to our students.
- Officer Foley for being our Grim Reaper.
- M&A Wrecker Service for providing the cars for the crash and moving them twice.
- Lieutenant Freeman for being the best liaison and working with us to fill in the gaps.
- Inkspot Smackover for printing the tshirts worn by the “living dead.”
- SRO Ardwin for making our crash scene look real.
- To all the students who participated as the “living dead” and funeral-goers.
It is our hope that all students will make smart decisions as they enter their final senior activities and leave EHS for the next phase of their life. One last reminder to seniors (and anyone else of the driving age):
As you get behind the wheel, please think about your actions and the possible consequences. You may not be the only one paying the price for your choices. The statistics are overwhelming and daunting. Don’t become a statistic.
Check out the Operation Prom 2018 Facebook album on the EHS Facebook page!