Grim Reaper Day 2014 leaves an impact on the Staples community


Caroline O’Kane

Isabel Perry ’15, a member of TAG, puts makeup on victim Carly Singer ’14.

On Wednesday, May 14, after months of preparation, the Teen Awareness Group (TAG) at Staples High School held their annual Grim Reaper Day  to bring awareness to the dangers of driving drunk or under the influence.

Students were confronted throughout the day by posters featuring statics about drunk driving. During period three, TAG put on an assembly and presented their documentary and their speaker, Tim Liacos, who told students about his personal experience with drinking and driving. Liacos survived an accident while he was driving back to his friend’s house in Vermont, while drunk, to pick up something he forgot.

Liacos, a speaker for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), believes that he has a story that can relate to young people, being young himself, and hopes that students take away from his speech that students shouldn’t drink and drive, they shouldn’t get in a car with a drunk driver, and should call a family member or friend for help if they need a ride home.

TAG President Meghan Lonergan believes that Grim Reaper Day does leave an impression on students.

“Usually Staples students really feel the impact during the day,” said Lonergan.

Jasmine Jex ’17, for example, was moved by Grim Reaper Day’s message.

 “It was really sad and really impactful, I guess,” Jex said.

As an upper classman, Julia Turner ’15, reflected, “I have [since] freshman year always been inspired [by] Grim Reaper day because it gives students an education in several different ways on how drunk driving can impact their lives and the people around them.”

Kayla Gitlin ’15 played a victim during Grim Reaper Day because she feels that it’s important for students to look at drinking and driving through the point of view that one of their friends has been killed.

“Driving accidents are one of the highest casualty rates for teenagers, so awareness and intervention is really important,” said Gitlin.

Officer Ned Batlin, who was responsible for pulling the victims out of class along with paramedic Marc Hartog, both agreed that with graduations and prom on the horizon, students need to be especially cautious.

Gabbie LeBlanc ’14, co-president of TAG, wants students to keep  the lessons they learned from Grim Reaper Day with them.

“It can be easy for people to feel moved by the documentary for a few hours, but in order to really make a difference people need to remember what they’ve learned and how it has made them feel for the rest of their lives,” LeBlanc said.