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A DIFFICULT LESSON: Highland hosts mock crash ahead of prom

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    First responders from Granger, Sharon and Hinckley townships work at the mock crash scene.

    LYDIA MAINZER / GAZETTE

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    Mock crash participants, along with Highland Drug Abuse Resistance Education role models, are top row, left, Frank Grecenuk, Hanna Kunzler, Zander Throckmorton, Makayla Grecenuk, Nick McFadden, Angie Morgan and Sheriff’s Deputy Sharon Centner. Bottom row, left, Collin Kalina, Alex Ruggerio, Alex Tillman, Kathryn Siliko, Grace Smith and Lauren Messner.

    LYDIA MAINZER / GAZETTE

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GRANGER TWP. — This prom season, Highland High School students are promising to be safe.

The school hosted a mock crash Thursday in addition to this year’s Prom Promise Pledge, “Sign it, Mean it, Keep it,” where students signed a banner as a reminder of the commitments they are making to themselves and their friends to make smart decisions and stay safe during prom and graduation weekends.

School psychologist Bethany Kennedy, Medina County Sheriff’s Deputy Sharon Centner, members of Students Against Destructive Decisions and Drug Abuse Resistance Education role models were the leaders behind this year’s event. Student organizations like SADD and D.A.R.E. strive to promote healthy lifestyle choices in and out of the classroom.

Centner helped collaborate with fire and rescue departments from Granger, Sharon and Hinckley townships, law enforcement from the sheriff’s office and Hinckley and Montville township police, University Hospitals’ MedVac unit and Ohio Highway Patrol troopers for the mock crash.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Schmoll narrated as students watched the events unfold. The mock crash scene, caused by a teen driver who was under the influence of alcohol, visually displayed the head-on collision.

All members of local law enforcement share a similar fear of responding to a situation where a young person is involved.

“Not only does your decision affect you, but it also affects your family, friends and your community,” Schmoll said.

Additionally, all of the members echoed the same sentiments: make smart decisions.

Students who volunteered to be actors in the mock crash included seniors Nick McFadden, Hanna Kunzler and Makayla Grecenuk, and juniors Zander Throckmorton and Angie Morgan. Frank Grecenuk, a Highland parent, also acted in the mock crash.

SADD Vice President Nick McFadden, of Sharon Township, played the student killed in the mock crash.

“The experience was extremely revealing since I was assigned the role of being a dead person,” he said. “I think it sunk in a little more than my peers watching. I want my classmates to know that decisions have consequences, especially bad decisions. Thinking before you act is very important, and I think this mock crash clearly teaches that lesson.”

Morgan Ramsey, D.A.R.E. role model and SADD secretary, helped organize the mock crash.

“We had a lot of morning meetings,” the Sharon resident said. “As soon as students returned from winter break, the planning began.

SADD and D.A.R.E. had a series of meetings that included club officers and their advisers, Kennedy and Centner.

“We had members of both clubs acting in the crash,” Ramsey said. “These students worked with the first responders and makeup artists to ensure this event could be as real as possible. We also had members of each club speaking in the assembly where they talked about our Prom Promise.

“It was cool to see so many people working together to put on an event and keep our community and students safe.”

Centner said she believes “the event made a point.”

The attitudes of the students changed after the mock crash display. Centner said she thinks the kids got the message crashes accidents like this don’t just appear in movies.

Highland High School’s Prom was Friday at Weymouth Country Club, followed by an after-prom at Medina Community Recreation Center.

Messages may be left for Lydia Mainzer at (330) 721-4060.
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