Peer Helpers work to combat drinking, driving

Published 12:02 am Friday, April 6, 2012



What if one of your best friends no longer walked the halls at school? What if a bad decision on your part killed him or her? What if it was your party that supplied the alcohol?

These are all things that happen every day throughout the country, but the Opp High School Peer Helpers are working hard to get the “don’t drink and drive message” across to their peers just in time for next week’s prom.

“We are trying to tell our students that drinking and driving is not a playing matter,” said Andrea Shepard, Peer Helpers co-president and chair of the committee. “We want them to realize that people getting killed is not just something that we see on TV. We want to show them that drinking for prom is not something you do.”

Beth Anne Spurlin, who is also the co-president, agreed.

“We decided to do it because of all the after-prom parties,” she said.

As part of the message, the senior peer helpers went to classes to spread the message, using a Grim Reaper, who picks his “victims” of drunk driving.

“We decided to do it (kill) the people who are prominent in the school,” Shepard said.

Those who are chosen by the Grim Reaper, must agree to wear a shirt that says they were killed by a drunk driver and must agree not to talk for the rest of the day.

“It’s like they died, so they don’t talk to us,” Shepard said. “We are trying to prove to students just how everyone will be affected, if this were to happen.”

After lunch, State Trooper Blake Turman spoke to juniors and seniors about the importance of not drinking and driving.

While Turman spoke, the students who agreed to “die” sat on stage behind a closed curtain.

“This was so the student body would realize what it would be like without them,” Shepard said. “Then we had people say ‘that was my best friend,’ or ‘that was my prom date.’”

Opp’s prom will be held next Friday night.

-Kendra Bolling