Teen Awareness Group implements new approach to Grim Reaper Day


Candles and flower memorials stand outside the Staples Cafeteria to respect and remember those killed and impacted by accidents of drunk driving.

For the past twelve years the Staples Teen Awareness Group (TAG) has organized Grim Reaper Day, a day-long event aimed at educating students on the dangers and consequences of drunk driving. This year, the elected Executive Committee, Board of Directors, TAG student members and group advisor, Chris Lemone, took a slightly different approach to the setup of the day.

“There will no longer be a coffin on Grim Reaper Day because we thought it was too intense,” Grace Wynne ’17 said. “Instead, we are setting up flower memorials in honor of people killed in drunk driving accidents.”

This year the group made an additional effort to acknowledge and respect those who have been involved or affected by drunk driving, such as the memorials.

“We think that this will be more sensitive to victims of drunk driving. It has the same impact but instead of a scare tactic, it shows the true consequence behind some stupid decisions in a respectful way,” Isabel Perry ’15 said.

In addition, the documentary shown to students during the Grim Reaper Day assembly underwent structural changes from the montage of various drunk driving stories it has depicted in the past.

“This is the first year that the documentary will follow one drunk driving accident instead of many,” Perry said.

Lemone gives the students creative freedom in the planning of the day, and the details of the event change as new leadership comes in each year.

“The kids in the group start to feel like they want to add their own twist to it. Grim Reaper Day is one of the bigger events that we do,” Lemone said. “[The seniors] want to put their own twist especially because it is the first year that they have had major decision making opportunities so its just whatever they want.”

The meaning of the day remains the same as the group still advocates for teens to make responsible decisions especially as proms and graduation near.

“We aren’t changing the message at all,” Wynne said. “The message is that no one should ever drive high, drive drunk, or drive distracted in general.”