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MILLERSBURG -- In the days preceding prom at Hiland and West Holmes high schools, safety leaders from the area worked with and spoke to students about the importance of good decision-making and safety.
"We want to remind kids about making good choices and to know there are other things you can do to have fun," said Suzanne Snyder, project director for Holmes and Wayne County Safe Communities, which coordinated the events at both schools.
They choose prom time to send the message because "statistics show this is the highest time of the year when it comes to teens and crashes. We want to try to reduce that through education," said Snyder.
To that end, they merged education with a little fun and timed seat belt and safety challenge that pitted students from each of the two schools against each other.
"I thought it was informational and a good reminder to be safe," said Garrett Miller, Hiland senior. "I like how the drunk goggles show you how hard it is to do anything (while under the influence). And, being in the back of a police car is an eye-opening experience. It's not a nice place to be."
"I think the (trivia) facts were good," said Jordan Homan, West Holmes senior. His team learned that more than 100,000 crashes per year involve a texting driver. "It helps you realize what goes on when you're driving. It will change the way I drive -- be a safer driver, not drink and drive, stay off my phone."
Following the challenge, students gathered for a "5 Minutes for Life" presentation. The brief program, presented by Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers and Ohio National Guard members, who spend five minutes discussing with students responsible decision-making, leadership and encouraging those in their peer group to live a drug-free lifestyle.
The Obstacle Course
1. Into the cruiser, buckle up.
2. Answer safety question.
(wrong answers require a member of the team to hula hoop three times before progressing)
3. Assemble puzzle wearing Fatal Vision goggles.
(three-second deduction if not completed in two minutes)
4. Roll the die, collect, chew and swallow the corresponding number of candies.
5. Back to the cruiser, buckle up.