WATERBORO — With the lure of warm, summery weather ”“ and a prom Saturday night ”“ the folks at Massabesic High School thought it was a good time to remind young people of the deadly consequences, not only of drinking and driving, or being in a car with someone who has, but of texting and driving, too.

Enter Project Grim Reaper, an in-your-face approach designed to make young people think before they act. It was played out Thursday in classrooms throughout the school, bringing the message that distracted driving kills.

The scenario played out by 23 students from the drama, National Honor Society and Massabesic Police Cadets, with help from Sgt. David Chauvette of the York County Sheriff’s Office and School Resource officer Deputy Jason Solomon, sounds vivid. It went like this: One student was removed from class every 15 minutes by the Grim Reaper, while a deputy read an “obituary” of the student. Then, the student returned to class in white face paint and wearing a coroner’s tag. The student was instructed not to speak to anyone for the remainder of the school day. Another vivid reminder saw a mirror placed in a “coffin” in the cafeteria, so students could pass through, look in the mirror and see their face.

Sound over”“the”“top?

Solomon, the school resource officer, said sometimes it’s what works.

“Kids are so desensitized these days,” he said. Sometimes, he said, it’s the “in”“your”“face” approach that works.

Chauvette said many classrooms were quiet after the Grim Reaper selected a student and the “obituary” was read.

“You could hear a pin drop,” he said.

The program was adopted from the website called “Every 15 Minutes,” which was developed some time ago and was named to indicate the occurrence of alcohol”“related vehicular deaths every 15 minutes in this country.

“It was really interesting,” said student Jasmine Rouillard. “It kind of makes you think. Every 15 minutes is a lot.”

Student Mike Souliere agreed, saying the project was a good illustration of what can happen when people drink and drive or text and drive.

Senior Will Secunde portrayed the Grim Reaper. He was asked if he thought the exercise will make a difference.

“I hope so,” he said. “Some (students) took it to heart. A lot really got the message.”

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, 10,322 people were killed in alcohol”“impaired driving crashes in 2012, accounting for nearly one”“third of all traffic”“related deaths in the United States.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324”“4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282”“1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]



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