EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Prom night for Effingham County High School is this Saturday and local law enforcement officials have repeated their annual message that drinking and driving can ruin that special evening.
The message hits home especially hits home this year in Springfield. As a state group of law enforcement officials brought some help for students who want to keep the prom fun and safe.
Junior class president Holly Nance said prom night is something she and classmates have imagined for years.
"I think we all start getting excited about prom in middle school and every girl picks out her dress," Nance said.
None of them think about the deadly consequences of underage drinking on such a night. But members of the Peace Officers Association of Georgia want them to avoid it.
They dropped off a $2,500 check to pay for banners, entertainment and anything else that promotes an alcohol-free prom.
"It's a whole lot better to spend a little money educating them ahead of time than the conduct you have to go through afterward," John Conley, of the Peace Officers Association of Georgia.
Students say the tragic message of what can happen hangs all too clearly in their minds right now.
Last month, classmate Joshua Stafford died in a crash. Neal Morgan and Whitney Newman passed away last fall. All of them were passengers in cars with alcohol and underage drivers.
"We're fixing to have graduation for this class and there's going to be three empty seats these young folks have to deal with," said Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie.
"I think it really hits home with a lot of students, and it's definitely a real reminder we need to stay safe," Nance said.
She hopes they can keep their night picture perfect.
The Reidsville-based Peace Officers Association of Georgia annual presents four to five such grants each year, through the help of corporate sponsors.