Statistics have shown that when teenagers get together in large
numbers, like during a prom, underage drinking is a common
occurrence. Unfortunately, it seems that every year we hear stories
of prom nights ending tragically. The end of the High School and
the excitement of new beginnings understandably puts kids in the
mood to celebrate, but when destructive decisions are made the
night (and sometimes a bright future) can quickly take a turn for
Underage drinking on prom night has been a problem that
communities have been dealing with for decades and a lot of
different approaches have been tried to get the message across.
For 15 years, local high schools have teamed up with student
organizations like Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) as
well as regional authorities and community action groups to provide
inserts in the pockets of tuxedos and with flower corsages. These
inserts are cards that remind prom-goers of the financial
consequences associated with illegal alcohol consumption. The
message is based on the popular MasterCard commercials that list
the cost of a few items and then call the intangible benefits
The cost of going to the prom might be as much as $800 but if a
student gets caught with alcohol, especially while driving, the
costs quickly spiral out of control. Considering loss of
scholarship money, police citations and lawyers' fees, a guilty
student might lose $25,000 or more. The reminder ends with "perfect
memories of an alcohol-free prom are: Priceless"
John D'Esposito is an advisor for the local SADD chapter and he
thinks this is an effective way to get the message out.
"A popular metaphor that I like to think of is having several
people all shooting arrows at a target. Some of those arrows may
miss, but hopefully many will hit the mark. That's the idea behind
getting this important message out there. We want to be consistent.
Essentially, if a student rents a tuxedo or buys a corsage anywhere
locally, they will get this message," he said.
Cassandra Soudiff, a Rutland student, agrees. She thinks that
the message is helpful, saying "Prom is expensive on its own; it
really hits you what the financial cost would be if you get in
trouble. I think it's great that students can get involved to show
that we support a safe prom."
Photo by Nathan Allen