Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


May 23, 2013

'A message we need to learn'

Mock accident, Breathalyzer threat lead to incident-free prom

Andover High School juniors and seniors kicked off graduation season and end-of-school-year activities last week with a sobering message about staying safe.

Last Friday afternoon, about 920 juniors and seniors gathered for a mandatory, pre-prom information session at the Collins Center highlighted by a gruesome mock drunken-driving accident and a reminder that a Breathalyzer awaited prom-goers raising suspicion.

The message seemed to have struck home. By Monday, Principal Chris Lord reported Saturday night’s Junior/Senior Prom at the Hilton Hotel in Danvers had gone off without any problems. See page 3 for photos.

“Happily, there were no incidents either during or after the prom when the kids got back in town,” Lord said. “We are all delighted our kids seem to be making the right decisions and we hope it continues all the way beyond graduation.”

Saturday’s prom wasn’t the first time students had faced the threat of a Breathalyzer. School officials this year started having Breathalyzer tests administered at all school dances. The prom was no exception.

At the pre-prom information session, the juniors and seniors were reminded that they would be subject to a Breathalyzer test at any time before, during or after the prom.

Anyone failing the test would be disciplined, including possibly being prohibited from attending graduation and/or being barred from participating in senior week.

The students were also given a brief lecture on etiquette, such as how to shake hands in the receiving line and other do’s and don’ts of formal occasions.

Then, they all filed out and stood on the hillside overlooking the small parking lot outside the Collins Center, where they witnessed the outcome of a mock car accident.

About 40 actors and actresses from drama teacher Susan Choquette’s improvisation classes served as accident victims as well as witnesses to the scene. A professional actor, J.T. Turner, from Ipswich, played an on-the-scene reporter, chronicling events over a loudspeaker as they unfolded.

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