Photo by John F. Russell
Steamboat Springs High school students Cierra Lorenz, second from right, and Eric Bonner, third from right, sit with other students on the stage of the school's auditorium Wednesday morning as part of the "Sober Prom" assembly. The students took part in a series of videos that were shown to make their class aware of the dangers of drinking alcohol during prom.
Steamboat Springs As the public education coordinator with Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue, Debbi Funston knows how urging Steamboat Springs High School students to make smart decisions with prom and graduation might come off.
Students have adults telling them what to do every day.
So, for the Sober Prom 2008 presentation Wednesday at the high school, Funston left the talking primarily to the students.
Along with a speech by Tim Selby, pastoral associate at the United Methodist Church of Steamboat Springs, students watched a video of their classmates dealing with actual situations that have happened at the high school in recent years.
The situations dealt with a parent allowing students to drink, a student getting hurt sledding after drinking, a student getting burned by a bonfire after drinking and sober students hitting a drunken pedestrian.
All the situations showed students making some bad decisions - but also some good ones.
"I think that it brings a real personal impact because some of these kids remember these instances," Funston said. "It also brings it close to home that we feel very guarded because we're in little Steamboat Springs. People think that things won't happen here. So it brings that message that, 'Yeah, it does happen here.' It happens everywhere."
All situations in the video featured current students at the high school, police, ambulance crews and firefighters.
"It makes it more real to hear from their friends," said Josh Carrell, the school's resource officer. "If you can make it real for them, it has a greater impact."
In each situation, a student or individual was adversely affected by alcohol. In the sledding and bonfire portions, students made the choice to contact authorities to help those injured or in danger. In the other two scenarios, the parent was arrested, and a student was taken to the hospital after drinking too much. The drunken pedestrian died, forever altering the lives of the sober student driving.
"The message your classmates are bringing to you today is very simple," Selby said. "To all of you guys, let's be smart, make good decisions and look out for each other."
Prom takes place Saturday night, while graduation is scheduled for May 31.
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