TAG Prepares For Sixth Annual Grim Reaper Day


Graphic by Zoe Hughes '09

On May 15, the Staples High School Teen Awareness Group (TAG) will host its sixth annual Grim Reaper Day, an event designed to raise awareness of drunk driving.

“I’m pretty psyched that we’ve been doing it for six years,” said student counselor and TAG advisor Chris Lemone. “Grim Reaper Day is pretty amazing and we keep thinking of ways to improve it.”

With students volunteering to act as victims of drunk driving and a schoolwide assembly featuring a documentary and a guest speaker, Grim Reaper Day is a major event at Staples. Lemone believes it is the primary reason many students join TAG, and TAG members agree on its importance.

“A lot of things that TAG does happen behind closed doors, so it’s hard for people to see what we really are doing, but Grim Reaper Day really shows what we do,” said TAG president Lexi Circle ’09.

Both Lemone and current members of TAG believe that Grim Reaper Day has steadily improved over the years, from the first year when, according to Lemone, TAG members wanted it to occur on Halloween, to last year’s speech by Westport resident Mike Krysiuk ‘74, who was involved in a drunk driving accident during his senior year of high school.

“Grim Reaper Day has increased tenfold over the years,” said TAG member Julia Backon ‘09. “The amount of work that TAG has put into this day has taken it to a whole new level. We just hope that everyone takes it as serious as we do.”

With this year’s speaker, a woman from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) who killed someone in a drunk driving accident, members of TAG believe they will make a stronger impact than ever before.

“The story she has is very different from what we’ve done in the past. I’m looking forward to hearing it and to hearing people’s reactions,” said Backon.

Despite the high hopes for this year, Backon and Lemone admit that sometimes students can think the event comes off a little hokey.

“The only controversy over Grim Reaper Day is that there are adults in the school that sometimes think kids don’t take it seriously. But with 1780 kids in the school, it’s naïve to think they will all take it seriously,” said Lemone.

Lemone also added that over the past two years, criticisms of this kind have slowed down immensely; this year, TAG hopes to uphold this high standard.

“The cops, Detective Regiero and Mark Hartog, are going to make it a lot more realistic,” said Circle. This realism will be echoed in the way that TAG has chosen to use real stories as the basis for the “victims”.

TAG member Jackie Dimitrief `10 elaborated on the changes to this year’s Grim Reaper Day, saying that the posters around the school will use Staples statistics on drunk driving, as will the updated documentary. In addition, there will be more “victims” this year; Circle explained that there will be enough students for all students to notice the “deaths” of their fellow students every thirty minutes.

“We’re even trying to get some teachers involved as victims,” said Dimitrief.