Students hear sobering message before promPublished 7:35pm Thursday, April 18, 2013
On the day before prom, Niles High School students heard a sobering tale of what could happen when drinking and driving.
Dale Matteson, of Buchanan, was a guest speaker Thursday at the Niles High auditorium. Matteson told the story of his stepdaugher, Brooke Simon, who died at age 15 from injuries sustained in a horrific drunken driving accident in July 1999. Simon wasn’t drinking, but the driver of the vehicle she was riding in had been. The driver lost control and slammed into a couple trees off of a road in Buchanan at an estimated 80 miles per hour.
Fourteen years later, Matteson still gets emotional telling the story. He encouraged everyone in the auditorium to make the right choices in life.
“The worst part of it is we don’t know how Brooke would’ve turned out … that was all taken away from us in an instant,” he said. “Life begins and ends with the choices you make.”
Niles High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions put on the presentation. It capped off a week of themed days leading to Friday’s prom.
On Monday, students learned of the dangers of texting and driving, while Tuesday focused on teen pregnancy. On Wednesday, SADD students gave bullying presentations at various schools in the district.
Karissa Young, SADD advisor, said the themed week was made possible by a grant through the Youth Advisory Council.
“Our focus wasn’t on telling students not to do something, it was getting them to step up as friends and help each other make the right decisions,” she said.