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Safe Driving was Every Junior’s Prom Date This Year

The dramatic Mock Crash assembly served as an emotional experience for Haven juniors.

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Safe Driving was Every Junior’s Prom Date This Year

Lily Marks & Maria Andraos, Staff Writers

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On April 3rd, 2019, Strath Haven held its annual Mock Crash just in time for prom season. To kick off the assembly, the school presented a simulated car crash to the juniors in the main entrance parking lot. The crash involved senior student actors playing the roles of intoxicated drivers and passengers.
In the fake crash, Isabel Zarrow collided with Sabrina Caputo after running a red light. The mock car crash resulted in the destruction of both vehicles, injured students, and a casualty. Real-life first responders, including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs, were immediately called to the scene. The crash demonstrated the process of caring for and supporting those involved, as well as the arrest of Isabel Zarrow, the driver at fault.
High school principal Dr. Kris Brown discussed the intentions behind the Mock Crash, saying students should be “Seeing the impact of driving distracted, driving under the influence…If this program were to lead to one person making a better decision, then it was worthwhile.”
Despite the good intentions behind the Mock Crash and hopes of making a positive impact on students with an emotional performance, some thought it to be excessive.
“In general, I found the Mock Crash to be a little over dramatized in a bad way,” said junior Audrey Fox. “It didn’t feel genuine to me at all. But I know some people were really impacted by it, so I think that it does evoke feelings in a good number of people.”
Junior Sybilla Moore seemed to notice a similar variance in the reaction amongst the student body, stating, “I do know that some people near me made jokes during the performance, but I also had friends who cried as a result of seeing the crash.”
The Mock Crash was followed by speeches from three different speakers. In past years, the speakers were not scheduled to talk to the students immediately after the crash. However, Dr. Brown decided to arrange them subsequently this year. He hoped that bringing in the speakers to talk to the students immediately following the performance would cause the students to think of the impact of one wrong decision on others.
A police officer and insurance agent were added to the lineup of speakers this year. The first speaker, Mr. Chris Weersing, presented his emotional story of suffering through drug and alcohol abuse which eventually led to a nearly fatal car accident. After a night of partying, Weersing made the costly decision to drive himself and his two friends home, while intoxicated, resulting in a devastating accident. Luckily, Weersing and his friends made it out alive: “a true miracle” according to Weersin. In his presentation, Weersing stressed the importance of avoiding driving under the influence because luck is not always on your side as it was for him.
Fox gave her opinion on Weersing’s speech, saying, “He was relatable and honest with how he felt about substance abuse and how he got through recovery—he definitely had a bigger impact than the crash since it was a lot more relatable and realistic.”
After Weersing’s presentation, a Nether Providence Police Officer gave a speech alongside Isabel Zarrow, who was “arrested” during the Mock Crash. With a passionate performance, the officer discussed the traumatic aftermath of car crashes, especially on the families of those who die in accidents.
Following two captivating speakers, the students found the final speaker, the State Farm Insurance Agent, lacking in emotional impact. Fox asserted that “the insurance agent was informative, but all in all I don’t think many students worry about their insurance plans.” Unfortunately, it seems as though ending the assembly with this speaker may have taken away from the impact and connection that the other speakers created with the students.
“I think, like for most issues, having genuine speakers come in and talk about their experiences is more impactful than any program or simulation,” commented Moore. “I think the Mock Crash is useful to just see what would happen with the police, fire department, and EMTs, but for me personally, the mock crash wasn’t super impactful alone.” Many students agree that experiencing the Mock Crash in combination with emotionally-driven speeches impacted them more than the Mock Crash would have by itself.

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