MHS Grad Fest promotes teen safety, clean fun

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With prom and graduation fast approaching, the Fire Department of Maricopa decided it was time to vist Maricopa High School to encourage soon-to-be celebrating teens not to drink, a city official said Wednesday.

With a firetruck on site, as well as two vehicles that simulated an alcohol-related crash, MHS students had the chance to see “first hand” why drinking and driving just don’t mix.

In addition, firefighters were on hand to explain the severity associated with driving under the influence, talk about some of the calls they have been on and demonstrate how trapped victims are removed from damaged vehicles.

Jennifer Grentz, a spokeswoman for the city, quoted a 2006 national statistic from Mothers of Drunk Drivers in which 714 youths under 21 died in alcohol-related traffic fatalities during the prom and graduation Season.

The safety reminder was a part of an overall celebration marking the end of the school year.

Meardey Kong, a 16-year-old junior at MHS, said the event took the place of a school pep rally.

Instead, the students were treated to Grad Fest on late start Wednesday. What turned out to be a field day of sorts included tips on prom fashions, spring sports opportunites and more at various stations the students rotated through, including the city’s demonstration to promote safety. Campus clubs, a blood drive and anti-meth posters also provided fun, but useful information.

“It is important that we continue in our efforts to stop drunk driving and underage drinking, especially during this celebratory time,” said Patrick Melvin, director of Public Safety in Maricopa. “We must do more to keep the teens of Maricopa safe and alcohol-free.”

Submitted photos