The Faces of Reality


Stephanie Colinders

On Jan. 18 2017, the Grim Reaper paid a visit to the juniors and seniors of Scotch Plains- Fanwood High School.
The Grim Reaper is a program that was run by the DECA club to emphasize the importance of driving sober and to encourage students to make smart choices. To get this point across, the Grim Reaper came and showed SPFHS what it is  really like to lose someone.
Every 15 minutes, the supervisor and someone dressed as a grim reaper came into certain classrooms. The names of the six students who had previously signed up for this program were called out, and they were brought to the front of the classroom. The supervisor proceeded to read aloud a scenario involving a drunk driver in which two people died and the rest were injured.
The victims who died were selected by the grim reaper and handed a purple flower– the six students were then escorted out of the classroom and lead to the Dance Gym. Here, the dead were given a dark purple shirt to wear, as well as a sign with a drunk driving statistic on it. The injured were given a light purple shirt, and had either their head or non-dominant hand bandaged.
For the rest of the day, the “dead” could not speak, and the injured were not allowed to take their bandages off. This is easier said than done, and both students who were and were not in the program felt the effects of this.
In the last period of the school day, the upperclassmen were brought into the New Gym for an assembly about the seriousness of drunk driving. The participants of the program – both dead and injured – were brought to the front of the gym to face their peers. They sat right in front of the table at which three guest speakers sat.
The first speaker, an insurance representative, stressed how many lives have been lost due to drunk driving, and the importance of having a sober driver. She used factual support and real numbers to show that deaths related to drunk driving can and do happen all the time, and to anyone.
The second speaker, a funeral director, reached out to the students and spoke about how awful it is for a family to have to bury their own child. He talked about all the unfortunate families he has encountered in his line of work who lost a son or daughter, and pleaded with the students to be safe so that their family will never have to suffer that kind of pain.
The third speaker was physical education teacher Ashley Boyce. Unbeknownst to most, Coach Boyce had experienced a loss of her own due to drunk driving. She told the students the story of how her college boyfriend was killed by a drunk driver a mere four years ago. Her story touched the hearts of everyone that listened, and concluded the assembly on a serious and somber note.
When it was time to return to class, the students left in complete silence. The Grim Reaper program was more powerful than one could have ever imagined, and showed the students of SPFHS how real and close to home the issue of drunk driving really is.