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Prom Promise steers teens toward 'Right Choices'

CHRISTAN M. THOMAS • Apr 21, 2007 at 12:42 PM

KINGSPORT - It was prom night, and as rescue workers extracted Adam Byrd and Katie Baker from their crashed car and placed Katie in the waiting WINGS rescue helicopter, classmates who happened upon the accident looked on in horror.

The accident's cause was a drunken driver.

Luckily that scene was not a real accident, but a part of the Prom Promise program at Sullivan South High School.

"The theme (of Prom Promise) is ‘Making the Right Choices,'" said Sullivan South teacher Darrell Johnson, who helped organize the program. "It's so easy to make the wrong choice - very easy to make the wrong choice. If they (students) make the right choice, hopefully something like this won't happen to them.

"We all see it on TV, maybe seeing it out here with some of the dramatic part of it will get their attention."

In addition to the accident re-creation, students could try on a pair of "drunk goggles" and see how their vision and reflexes are impaired. During fourth period on Friday, students attending prom also participated in a convocation encouraging them not to drink on prom night.

Organizers of Prom Promise just hope the day's events will hit home when those attending the "Shipwrecked in Paradise" prom this weekend get dressed up and get in the car.

The simulations' "victims," Katie and Adam, hope those watching will simply think twice about their actions on prom night. Both Katie and Adam work with the volunteer fire department. Adam is also a freshman at Sullivan South. Katie said they got involved with the program to show a realistic scene on prom night and the consequences of a night of drinking.

"I hope it (the simulation) makes students realize that one night is not worth it - being paralyzed or killed," Katie said.

If students do make the choice to drink on prom night, however, they still have a chance not to get behind the wheel.

Johnson said each student who attends the prom will be given a "Buzz Free Prom" card with his name and a number on it. If a student does drink or his or her date drinks, they can call the number and Johnson, his wife or another faculty member or parent volunteer will come and pick them up.

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