continued “We try to bring something creative, diverse, eclectic each year to keep the students’ interest and send a message in a different way,” said Patti DeVost, who facilitated the demonstration. “This mock is the first.”
Thompson said the STOP-DWI program stages the demonstrations upon request and while this is the only one so far this year, there can be as many as six.
“Sometimes districts do them on their own with their own resources but we assist any school that would like to do them,” said Thompson.
DeVost said she was looking for something out of the ordinary to really drive the message home. Last year, a panel of speakers shared stories with students and the year before the school screened a film.
“I think you never know how completely successful it is. We base it on student feedback,” said DeVost, a counselor and director for the center of teaching and learning.
Letting students ask questions is an important part of any anti-DWI presentation, said DeVost, so on Friday students were also attending an assembly.
“Allow the time to ask questions, talk to actual victims, go over statistics,” said DeVost.
DeVost said she knows in the end, the school doesn’t have control over what decisions students may or may not make, but it’s still important to do what it can to prevent predicaments like the mock crash from occurring.
“When talking to youth and spending time with them you learn about all the pressures they’re faced with, choices they have to makes, stresses they’re under and not just related to academics … we need to prepare them not only on how to study and do well but face life challenges,” said DeVost. “We are proactive in our approach every year to give them positive ways to handle difficult situations.”
The Albany Academies also target underage drinking by breathalizing students before dances.