Sober Prom meant to make impression on juniors, seniors

By Donetta Godsey
Winfield Courier – April 9, 2015

Photos by Donetta Godsey.

Photos by Donetta Godsey.

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Winfield High School, in conjunction with local emergency response agencies, presented Operation Sober Prom beginning Wednesday afternoon in the school auditorium and north of the high school.
The program presented to juniors and seniors focuses on consequences of bad choices during prom night or any other time.
Agencies involved included the Winfield Fire/Emergency Medical Services, Winfield Police Department, WHS Students Against Drunk Driving, WHS student council, Cowley County Emergency Communications and EagleMed.
The program has not been presented locally for several years, said WHS assistant principal Craig Thompson.
“I think it’s been about a dozen or more years since our students have seen this presentation, but this was something our SADD and StuCo students really wanted to provide for their classmates.”
Just prior to the students’ entering the auditorium, Winfield Fire/EMS was paged for a fire east of the city.
“Well, that’s what we’re all about,” said fire chief Allan Stoll. “We can’t pick and choose when emergencies happen. We have to respond at any time whether it’s convenient or not, in good weather or bad.” Fortunately, the fire was soon reported to be a controlled burn.
Dr. Christopher Morrisey began with a PowerPoint presentation, “One Night in the ER,” actual slides taken of patients treated for a variety of medical emergencies in the Lawrence Memorial Hospital emergency room.
The emergencies included intoxication to the point of unconsciousness, rape and a stabbing that occurred in a local bar.
In addition to the physical consequences, Morrissey spoke about the cost of the medical treatment and emotional toll such bad choices can take.
Regarding the sexual assault, Morrissey told the students, “Don’t think this only happens in big cities. We had about 70 reports of such assaults in Cowley County last year.”
Winfield Fire/EMS officer Aaron Sutton took over the presentation with “Choices and Consequences — Driving While Intexticated,” which showed slides of vehicle accidents that had resulted from drinking or texting while driving.
A nurse/flight crew member with EagleMed also spoke on some of his experiences.
At the close of the auditorium program, Thompson said he wanted the students to realize that all the people involved in the program are volunteers.
“This is not a paying gig,” Thompson said. “They do it because they believe it is important, and if what they do can help to save even one life, it’s been worth it.”
The final event was a scripted 911 radio traffic call regarding a two-vehicle car accident that had occurred just north of Winfield Middle School with people trapped in one car and possibly one fatality.
Students went outdoors to the enactment site of the accident and viewed how emergency personnel work a crash scene.
A Cowley County theatre student helped with special makeup to give realistic effects to the victims involved in the accident.
Students crowded around the staged wreck as emergency workers talked with and treated the victims. They even extracted one person from a car with the “Jaws of Life.”
WHS junior Hunter Rush said he had been aware of what to expect, but the presentation still held some shock value.
“I got shivers (watching it),” Rush said. “It was just so surreal. I think it was a great experience, and I definitely think they should do this again for future students.”
Sydney Fox, also a junior, said she knew quite a bit beforehand about what was going to happen.
“I thought it was well done and very worthwhile,” Fox said.
“I think if we had thought the inside presentation was all that was going to happen, then suddenly learned that an accident had happened (on Viking Boulevard), it might have made more of an impact. I do hope that it will make some students stop and think about their decisions.”
Sutton said he was very impressed with the high school students who not only wanted this program presented but agreed to be “victims.”
“We had about six planning meetings,” Sutton said, “and I think they were at every one to help this all come together. They were very brave to be part of the presentation because I’m sure some kids made fun of them, but they just wanted to make a difference and help their friends and classmates to make good decisions.”
Plans are now for this program to be presented every other year so that the same students do not see it every year.
In the future, the event also may be opened to smaller, surrounding schools and to the general public.

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