Hilton Head High Prepares for Prom

Students gather at an assembly to hear about the dangers of drunk driving.
Students gather at an assembly to hear about the dangers of drunk driving.

The end of the school year means proms and parties - sometimes alcohol is involved. That's why schools like Hilton Head High School are taking steps to keep their students safe and alive. Today, they brought in a special speaker, hoping to prevent another drinking and driving tragedy at their school.

A tree and bench in memory of Michael DeVincentis remains at the entrance of Hilton Head High School. He died last year in an accident involving alcohol. To make sure another student doesn't die this way, school officials brought in someone who knows first hand the dangers of alcohol to talk to juniors and seniors before the prom and spring break.

Brandon Silveria was a football player at his high school, had a job, a girlfriend and a promising future, until he got behind the wheel drunk. Now, he's going around the country sharing his story and encouraging others to make better choices.

"Take a long look at me and ask yourself is it worth a couple of beers," said Brandon Silveria. A strong message that seemed clear to these teens.

"You get a lot of speakers at high schools about drinking and driving and half of the time people blow it off, but I think this really affected a lot of people," said senior, Sarah Robinson.

"Hopefully when they get into a situation where they have to make a choice, they'll think and remember this assembly and be safer than they maybe were last weekend," said Principal, Dr. Helen Ryan.

Hearing Brandon's story really hit home, especially for Chris DeVincentis, who was in that accident with his brother Michael.

"It brought me back to last year when I was in a similar situation and I could really relate to him," said Chris. "Its pretty tough to hear stuff like this but it just makes me appreciate a life a little more."

"I thought about all the stuff that happened last year and the accident and I started thinking about friends," said senior, Charlie Fletcher.

"Of course what happened last year made a big impact on everyone, especially right before prom, and this kind of just rekindles that whole fire and makes people more aware again," said Sarah.

Besides the assembly, school officials are also requiring parents and students to sign a sober pledge and attend a special prom meeting before they are allowed to purchase their prom tickets. They're also hosting an after prom party with food, games, and lots of prizes to help keep students safe this prom season.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com