Centralia Fireside Guard

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An important pre-prom lesson at Centralia High School

Posted on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Sirens roared and young women cried in the Centralia High School west parking lot.

One view of the CHS docudrama.

One view of the CHS docudrama.

A pair of cars were crunched in a head-on embrace, beside the body of a student, face-down on the pavement.

Another student’s left hand drooped, twitching from a driver’s side window.

It was May 1 and not as bad as it looked.

The event was a docudrama, a joint production of the Centralia Police Department and the CHS Drama Club; with help from the Centralia Volunteer Fire Department, Boone Hospital Ambulance, Fenton Funeral Home and Missouri Highway Patrol.

One school administrator watching as fire engines screeched to a stop by the wreck, lights flashing and sirens howling, said, “I don’t even like to look a this, its too close to home.”

Moving in from the side, Joe Bellamy, a lieutenant with the Centralia Police Department said in passing: “Trust me, the real thing is a lot worse.”

Centralia Police Officer David Davenport stabilizing a victim's head and neck.

Centralia Police Officer David Davenport stabilizing a victim’s head and neck.

As the firefighters began extracting students, dead, and injured, from the cars, CPD Officers and two members of the Missouri Highway Patrol were collecting evidence.

In the troopers’ case that meant interviewing  the surviving driver.

The students strove for realism said Maria Barr, a freshman member of the drama club.

“We put the docudrama on to truly show, beyond just saying ‘don’t drink and drive,’ the consequences that prom choices could have,” Barr said.  “We wanted to show the why behind the words in a way that was safe and effective.  It was our intent to work together to make a difference in the mind-set of our student body, not by creating fear in them, but by showing the harsh reality that can come with poor choices.  We worked hard on this because we care about our peers, and it is my sincere hope that they took this demonstration to heart, because we certainly put our hearts into creating it.”

For the complete article, please see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.