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Fairview Junior High students get serious about staying sober

Hilary Winedorfer, left, and Jay Allred, students at Fairview Junior HIgh, rehearse a play they will present next week to the student body. The short plays are designed to show students the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. - Photo by Rogerick Anas
Hilary Winedorfer, left, and Jay Allred, students at Fairview Junior HIgh, rehearse a play they will present next week to the student body. The short plays are designed to show students the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

What’s that big wrecked truck doing at Fairview Junior High?

It was once involved in a drunk-driving crash, and it’s there to show kids what happens when you drink and drive, said drama teacher, David Caley.

Junior high is a critical time to get the message across, he said. Students are at an age when they’re learning to drive, and beginning to do rebellious things — such as under-age drinking, and then driving.

Caley and his seventh-graders are staging a play to be performed twice next week, the week of June 17-21, for the entire student body. The play is really two small plays, back-to-back, that deal with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Caley believes the performance will have greater impact coming from kids.

“We can stand up here as teachers and say and do all we want,” said Caley. “But kids are more likely to pay attention to each other.”

He said the school does something like this at the end of each year. A project of “social importance.” The play is a reprise of what was done three years ago.

Twenty-two students are participating in the performance, which lasts about 40 minutes.

In the first half, a dozen or so “tombstones” are set-up on stage. Each doubles as a chair where the players sit and act out their fears and frustrations at being in a halfway “place,” — essentially a kind of purgatory, where the dead wait to find out their destinies. The second half involves one person who is killed in a drunk-driving accident, and all the things that happen to him and his family after the accident.

“It really has an influence on the kids,” said Caley.

After the student body watches the play, they are led out to the wrecked truck and given a lecture by a Washington State Trooper, who usually brings a body bag with him, to show students what they could end up in.

The project is supported by SADD, Students Against Drunk Driving. Gateway Towing donates the truck, and pulls it free-of-charge from school to school where similar programs are held.

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