Teens pledge not to drink and drive | SierraSun.com

Teens pledge not to drink and drive

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra SunFreshman David Olsen (far right) pledges that he won't drink and drive, while Gape Cooper (on left) mans the table.

Truckee High sophomore Sara Casey says there’s no question that some students are going to drink over prom weekend.

However, it’s not the drinking that is bothersome to Casey, it’s the possibility that those students might get behind the wheel, she said. At a young age, Casey was in a serious car accident that mentally and physically disabled her father.

Though the accident wasn’t alcohol-related, “Anything that has to do with a car accident really affects me,” she said. “I don’t like seeing other people deal with that misfortune.”

For that reason, Casey brought a program to her school that shows students the realities of drinking and driving. The project, called Casey’s Pledge (no relation to Sara Casey), shows students the realities of drinking and driving through the story of Casey Goodwin.

At 20 years old, Goodwin was driving from Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo to Exeter to celebrate her mother’s birthday when her car collided head-on with a drunken driver’s vehicle. Goodwin was airlifted to University Medical Center in Fresno, where she died of her injuries.

Goodwin had spent most of her teenage life telling others about the dangers of drinking and driving. She was an active in Friday Night Live, a statewide organization that promotes healthy, alcohol- and drug-free lifestyles for youth.

This week, Tahoe Truckee High School students are taking Casey’s Pledge, just before prom weekend. Teachers are showing a video about Goodwin’s story in class. During lunch break, students are signing stars, pledging that they will not drink and drive. The stars will hang outside of the room where prom is held to remind students of the promise they made.

On Wednesday, students gathered four deep at a table in the Truckee High foyer to sign Casey’s Pledge. Kyle Steverman, a 17-year-old junior, said he thought the pledge was a good idea for Truckee High, especially right before prom.

“It’s a big weekend,” said Steverman, who will be going to prom. “There’s going to be a lot of parties afterward, and there’s going to be alcohol.”

Steverman said it’s important for students to stay sober or find a designated driver.

Truckee High is one of the first schools in California to take part in Casey’s Pledge. And Casey, who brought the program to Truckee High with her leadership class, said she hopes it will be an annual event.

“I want to keep this going until I graduate,” she said. “It was something that I felt like, personally, I could do to help.”

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