Late Spring is the time for all the frills and thrills of high schools proms, with this in mind, West High School held their annual Prom Promise simulation on Thursday morning.
West has this mock disaster every year before prom. They have the Ohio State Highway Patrol and local rescue come in and run a practice for the students and then stage a mock disaster.
“Before the kids go down and see the disaster and rescue, the State Patrol speaks to them about the dangers of drinking and driving they give them a bit of a lecture and visuals things, they kind of learn in driver’s education,” West’s Alison Smalley said. “It’s just a good reminder to them, knowing that prom weekend is coming up. And then, they ask them if they pledge to be safe this weekend, and that’s the promise part of our prom promise.
“Then they walk the kids outside and they watch this mock rescue and we have our senior class members participate in that. This is staged, with the vehicles as if the accident had happened and they have on makeup, to make it look more realistic,” Smalley said. “We have the helicopter come in and we have one of the students get flown out. Typically, we have a student that has passed away and it tends to be very disheartening and sobering to watch that.”
At West, just the prom goers, juniors and seniors go down to watch the mock disaster. West High School only has the juniors and seniors to be allowed to go to the prom. They may bring an outside guest, but they too must be either a junior or senior.
When asked if she thought this program was effective, Smalley said, “I think this program is completely effective, the students come back and they are bothered about what they have seen. Usually, when you come back in from an outdoor thing, students are usually talkative and lively and when they come back in they are not, they are quiet,” she said. “The tone changes, even though they get to go outside and watch this high drama play out, they are unsettled. I do think they take it seriously and seeing their classmates there in the makeup and those positions, I think that really does make a difference.”
Smalley, a teacher at West shares the prom responsibilities with another teacher at the school.
The mock disaster is played out in many Ohio schools and across the nation and the State Highway Patrol usually plays a big part in making this drama work. The prom pledge has been around for some time and seems to be expected by the students and schools involved, and is something that can help keep students aware of what can happen, if they do not stick to some kind of promise to stay safe and simply enjoy the prom and all the festivities that go along with it.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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