Students learn what it's like to be "dead"
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Stressing the importance of not drinking and driving, Tamaqua senior Makia Stocker, portraying a dead victim of a drunk driver, is painted by senior Danielle DeBenedict as part of the school's Prom Promise Week.
Thirty Tamaqua students were "dead" for a day as part of the Tamaqua Area Student Government Association's (TASGA) annual Grim Reaper Day yesterday. The event was held in the Tamaqua High School as part of the school district's Prom Promise Week.
TASGA officers and volunteers said Grim Reaper day showed classmates what it would be like to be without a friend for a day. During the day, about 30 students were randomly chosen to be painted as "dead" vehicle passengers, drivers or victims. In addition, each participant had to remain completely silent the entire school day.
Every hour, "dead" students would go to the outside center court of the school and hit a loud gong as well as scream at the top of their lungs, representing the screaming sound they would have made during a deadly crash.
Nicki Mateyak, TASGA President, said it gives the students the feeling of not being there after being killed in a vehicle accident caused by drinking and driving, cell phone usage, texting, or social distractions.
Stephen Ulicny, 8-year advisor of TASGA, said that local businesses also got involved; to include Our Family Mini Mart and Fegley's Mini Mart who donated gas cards to the program to be chanced off for participating students.
Ulicny, Mateyak and other officers stated their appreciation to the school district and for all the participating students.
"This program serves as a good way to raise real-like awareness about drinking and driving during the prom," said 11th grade student Avery Banavage, who represented a dead driver during the day.