Students signing up, take Prom Promise
CENTREVILLE — Prom for Queen Anne’s County High School will be this Saturday, May 21. While the occasion is one for celebration, QACHS Principal Jacquelyn Wilhelm had a somber message for her students earlier in the week. Each year the school encourages juniors and seniors attending prom to sign a pledge known as “Prom Promise,” promising not to drink and drive or ride with someone who has been drinking.
The morning of Tuesday, May 17, students gathered in the auditorium to listen to representatives from the Queen Anne’s County Office of the Sheriff, State’s Attorney and Department of Emergency Services. A re-enactment based on a real emergency response call had been planned for the morning, but due to weather was canceled. Instead, the students watched a 20-minute video of a similar re-enactment.
Wilhelm told her students she knew they want to have a good time on Saturday night, but reminded them one night of making a bad decision because they think it might make things a little more fun can have repercussions that last a lifetime. She also reminded them there would be many chaperones and law enforcement present to make certain everyone was enjoying prom safely and not leaving under the influence.
“I can hardly sleep on Saturday night, after you all leave this prom,” said Wilhelm, “until Sunday has come and I haven’t received a call from the sheriff telling me news I don’t want to hear.”
Scott Wheatley, Queen Anne’s County Department of Emergency Services, said, “What if you are the one that walks away, while an innocent person dies?” Wheatley also encouraged the students to make good decisions. “I’ve seen the state testing results, I know you guys are smart kids,” he said.
“These are times to think back on and remember the good times,” said Sheriff Gary Hofmann.
Hofmann told the students that he and his officers had a job to do, but also wanted them to be safe and enjoy this night. “Reach out to us if you need us,” said Hofmann.
State’s Attorney Lance Richardson expressed the same. The No. 1 killer for people aged 17 to 35 is an auto accident, he said.
“We are going to have double and triple patrols out this weekend, the last thing you want to do is be that person that crosses the center line and ends someone else’s life, and the last thing I want is to see you in a courtroom with me,” Richardson said.
Juniors and seniors at QACHS signed one of the two banners to pledge their “prom promise” to drive sober and not drive distracted.
Students at Queen Anne’s County High School watch with somber expressions a video re-enacting a fatal accident caused by driving under the influence of alcohol.
Queen Anne’s County States Attorney Lance Richardson reminds students that drinking and driving can have lasting consequences.