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Prom promises

SNOQUALMIE - For high-school students, prom night can leave a lasting memory - good or bad.

Good for an unforgettable night with friends. Or bad, for example, for a disastrous date.

Mount Si High School's Associated Student Body (ASB) has been working all year to ensure that none of the school's students fall victim to the most tragic of prom night disasters: death.

Drinking and driving is a dangerous rite of passage on prom nights across the nation. Although the problem goes back many years - to the proms of students' parents - students at Mount Si have been educating each other that drinking and driving is a prom-night tradition that can, and should, end.

"We've been focusing on that week before prom all year," said Mount Si High School teacher and ASB adviser Lynn Fallows.

The push for prom-night drinking-and-driving awareness has been part of an ASB effort called "Decisions in Focus," a yearlong program emphasizing that the decisions students make will have consequences. Mock car crashes have been staged, and guest speakers have talked about their own experiences with drunken driving.

"We want people to know that there are other alternatives to partying," said junior Kate Heagle. Mount Si's prom is Saturday, May 18.

ASB students hope many of the more poignant messages will hit home this week. A mock arrest will be made of a student pretending to be drunk, and at the end of an assembly this week students will watch a video in which the district's fifth-graders ask them not to drink and drive after the prom.

When the high-school students get back to their rooms following the assembly, letters from the fifth-graders will be waiting for them.

"We did it last year and it went really well," Fallows said. "It's very touching."

For the second year in a row the ASB is also giving students a chance to sign the "Prom Promise," a pledge by students to abstain from drinking and drugs on prom night organized by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.

"It gets people thinking," said senior Kit Englund. "People take it seriously. Some of them don't sign it because they say they are not going to keep it."

While there is no after-prom party at the school, many parents have signed a list offering their homes as alcohol- and drug-free places to gather after the prom.

By taking this approach, ASB hopes to exert more influence over fellow students against drinking and driving on prom night.

"This is much more unique, it's more in your face," said senior Kristen Clapp "But since it is coming from their peers, we think it may sink in more."

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