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Sober Prom aims to stop drunk driving

Jessica+Cramer%2C+a+senior%2C+calls+911+in+a+panic+during+the+drunk-driving+car+crash+simulation+on+April+15.
Jessica Cramer, a senior, calls 911 in a panic during the drunk-driving car crash simulation on April 15.

Jessica Cramer, a senior, calls 911 in a panic during the drunk-driving car crash simulation on April 15.

Nina Heller

Nina Heller

Jessica Cramer, a senior, calls 911 in a panic during the drunk-driving car crash simulation on April 15.

Kylie Lin, Staff Writer

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Prom night, for many, is a night of parties — a night of fun. It is a time of elation, anticipation, and joy where high school students can let loose and enjoy themselves for one magical evening.

However, behind this excitement lies inevitable risks.

The night of prom, which has involved underage drinking in past years, brings the risk of Driving-Under-the-Influence (DUI) car accidents. Furthermore, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers aged 16-20 are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when intoxicated than when they have not been drinking.

Therefore, in order to deter students from drinking and driving, the Belmont Police Department (BPD) held an event known as Sober Prom at Carlmont on April 16-17.

“The intent behind Sober Prom is to educate students, as well as the community, on the dangers of driving while under the influence,” Alexis Eliopoulos, a senior and manager of Sober Prom, said. “Sober Prom aims to make an impact on students and the community to show just how devastating events like this can be and how they can take steps for preventing it.”

The event involved a simulated DUI car crash in the senior parking lot at 10:40 a.m. on April 15 along with a mock funeral for the victims the following day. At the mock funeral, a video was shown to give context to the drunk-driving crash seen the day before.

Jason Lloyd, Sedona Regan, James Houston, Sehar Masud, Skylar Weiss, Jessica Cramer, Jackson Velschow, and Demarii Blanks, all seniors, acted as victims of the crash. Regan and Houston, in particular, played two students who did not survive.

Sedona Regan and James Houston, both seniors, play the part of two students who did not survive the simulated DUI collision.

In terms of the school’s response, many students understood the motivation and significance behind Sober Prom. However, they also expressed discontent and confusion with the overall execution.

“It’s a lot of effort and a lot of dramatics for what seems to be not that big of an effect,” Amanda Masini, a senior, said. “And of course, I don’t want people to drunk drive — none of the people here do. This just might not have been the best method to spread the message.”

Spencer Stancil, a senior, was moved by the crash simulation but nevertheless believes that other methods could be more effective in discouraging drunk driving.

Stancil said, “I almost was upset at myself for being upset because I knew how ridiculous it was. I don’t want to say that this isn’t going to change anything because it will. But anyone who already feels like ‘whatever’ about drunk driving — this theatrics isn’t going to change that.

The effects of Sober Prom do reach farther than just the Carlmont student population. According to Eliopoulos, many groups outside of just students can benefit from the Sober Prom experience.

Eliopoulos said, “Outside of Carlmont, I think Sober Prom benefits Belmont Police Department and the general public because it allows BPD to educate our community about how events like this play out. It also allows our community to learn from mistakes, such as the one [Lloyd] made in choosing to drive drunk, without us having to actually live through these tragedies.”

In the end, Sober Prom raised the heavy subjects of drunk driving, car crashes, and the possibility of losing classmates, giving students cause to consider their actions going into the night of Prom.

“I 100 percent believe that Sober Prom is worth the costs put into it because it could save a life. If even only a handful of people truly and seriously listened to the message of Sober Prom, that is still a handful of lives that are being saved,” Eliopoulos said.

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About the Photographer
Nina Heller, Staff Writer
Nina Heller is a junior in Journalism II. She enjoys being outdoors, playing the guitar, and spending time with family and friends. @ninahellerr (Visited 27 times today)
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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Sober Prom aims to stop drunk driving