Contributed by Rylie Peterson | Walhalla High School, SC
For its first year as a DECA chapter, Walhalla High School ended the year with a bang. During the week of April 24-28, 2023, 10 WHS DECA members, along with the help of four other students, collaborated with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for their Prom Promise community service project. During the project, members hosted games during all lunches and encouraged students to sign the Prom Promise pledge not to drink and drive during or after prom. Students were also seen walking in the halls wearing bracelets that read, ‘I pledge not to drive under the influence or ride with anyone impaired. WHS Prom Promise.'
Monday, April 24, was the start of the week's events, with two tables set up. One was left up all week for students to sign the pledge, and the other was for games, with Kahoot and balloon pop being the first. Inside the balloons were pieces of paper with different drunk driving facts. On the second day of the project, another Kahoot game was held, along with a game table for a school-appropriate version of cup pong.
On Wednesday, students could take 'Shots of Inspiration,' shot-size solo cups filled with different sodas. Later on that day, a speaker from MADD, Victim Advocate Mary Parks, and SC State Highway Master Trooper Mitchell Ridgeway came to speak with juniors and seniors about the effects and consequences of driving under the influence. They started with stories of what Officer Ridgeway has seen in his years of service and ended with Mary Park's impactful message about losing her son due to a drunk driver.
Students could wear drunk goggles on Thursday and go through an obstacle course. These goggles impaired the students' vision, giving them the same effect as driving under the influence. And on the project’s final day, students could pay to smash a car. With $1 for one hit and $3 for five hits, WHS DECA raised $138 for South Carolina MADD. Finally, student drivers drove home with red ribbons donated by the organization tied to their cars that Friday before prom as the final attempt to drive home the campaign message.
Overall, Prom Promise Week was a great success, with Walhalla DECA and SC MADD collecting more than two hundred signatures from students at WHS. It will continue to be a campaign where these students will have no trouble participating again.