Sobering lesson preps students for the prom

With prom and graduation fast approaching, Federal Way teens will soon be faced with decisions about drinking.

Staff at Federal Way High School as well as local police are working to help students make those decisions with the Prom Promises program.

Last week at Federal Way, seniors attended meetings, participated in discussions and navigated a driving course with goggles that impaired their vision — all in an effort to learn more about the consequences of alcohol abuse and drunken driving.

“The goal of the event is to hopefully prevent seniors from doing the wrong thing at prom,” said Larry Thornton, a para-educator who helped coordinate the event.

“I think it’ll have a positive effect on the kids. They need to see experiences like this instead of just talking about it,” Thornton said.

Students who participated saw firsthand the effect that a few drinks could have on their coordination and driving abilities. Wearing goggles that impaired their vision similar to the way a .08 blood alcohol content would, students attempted to drive a golf cart through a driving course.

“It’s even harder than I thought,” said senior Booker Lewis.

“I’m not going to do all that drinking and driving, that’s for sure,” said senior Robert Lubin.

In the scenario, drivers were told that the cones set up were actually people that they would have hit if they were driving in a city situation. Federal Way Police traffic enforcement officer Win Waterman explained to the students what would happen if they were pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving.

Students also viewed a car that was totaled in an alcohol-related crash.

“Teenagers are very visual, so the car is just showing them what happens in a speed collision where alcohol is involved,” Waterman said.

Principal Lisa Griebel said that the event reminded students about the consequences of alcohol abuse as well as drinking and driving. Because of television shows like MTV’s Spring Break, teens and community members often view drinking at prom as a rite of passage for seniors.

“It’s not a rite of passage. It’s not safe. It’s unhealthy and there are legal consequences,” Griebel said.

Senior Ivan Frerichs said the event reinforced what he already knew about drinking and driving.

“It’s just a matter of common sense and smart choices,” Frerichs said.

Contact Margo Hoffman: or (253) 925-5565.

t Program demonstrates consequences

of alcohol abuse and drunken driving

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