The Prowler

Road to Reality makes deadly comeback

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On April 25 Road to Reality made its annual return to North. Road to Reality is an acted out event meant to educate as well as help students visualize the consequences of driving and underage drinking.

“You get a free ticket upon arrival…and meet in the cafeteria until your time is called,” event organizer and social worker Tamara Curry said. She is responsible for “coordinating with outside resources” that includes the Plainfield Police Department and Edward Hospital along with the Plainfield Fire Department, Will County Court and the Will County Coroner.

Community members who attended the event rotated in scheduled tours that were in multiple locations around the school grounds.

Audience members started out in the auditorium with a skit about a teen party that ended with a group of students getting into a car which lead to a crash site outside. The driver found all her friends and another girl dead before one of the boys was rushed to the ER.

Once in the hospital scene, audience members observed doctors and nurses who attempted to help the boy brought in on a stretcher but ultimately could not save his life. In the final moments, his distraught mother appeared.

“I now know how it would feel for a parent who just lost their child,” sophomore Xavier Morris said.

This experience was not just impactful for the students. According to Season Saenz, mother of sophomore Chad Barclay, it is necessary for parents as well.

“… [I]t is important for parents to attend Road to Reality because in most cases parents too often think ‘not my kid’ or ‘my kid doesn’t hang around with kids who would do this,’” Saenz said. “We as parents have to have the hard conversations about these matters because if we don’t, these types of things can and will happen.”

After leaving the ER, students and their parents were brought to the next room where Will County  Coroner Mike Vanover talked  about what happens when you drink and drive and the serious consequences that come with it.

 After listening to Vanover, the tour moved to a dark bedroom where the driver mournfully reflected on what happened that night and the jail time she faced. The final scene took place in a courtroom where the fate of the driver was ultimately decided.

“It’s the first year [the North Literary Club wrote] the script…They did an amazing job,” Curry said.

The school obtained Road to Reality from Lockport Township High School back in 2012. This year’s performance differed from previous ones since the crash was not caused by a train, but by a car-on-car collision.

“In past years we have worked with [Canadian Railway-a transportation and logistics company] in connection to rail safety. However, CN is reconstructing so they opted to not participate [in the event]  this year… [And] this year we’re being covered by WGN because of… distracted driving… [on account of it being] breaking news,” Curry said.

 Curry isn’t the only employee at North raising awareness about underage drinking and driving at Road to Reality.

“We do have other staff helping with that night to make sure things run smoothly,” Curry said.

One staff member helping out with the event was special education teacher John Kaufman. Kaufman has been a part of Road to Reality for two years.

Kaufman initially joined because “I’ve personally known one student that died from the effects of drug use [and three] other students that died in a car crash,” Kaufman said.  “One of those I knew their brother.… All of these accidents could have been avoided if drugs, alcohol and driving were not mixed together.”

 While the main purpose is to show why people shouldn’t drink and drive, it is also interesting to see all of it happening in front of the audience.

One of the actors, junior Kauri Johnson, said Road to Reality is important because “…it’s something that people do all the time and it’s not right… lots of people are affected by it.…”

Johnson has been involved with the event for two years.

“It was very hard to see the reality of what happens when we choose to text, drink or just not focus completely on the road,” Saenz said.  “I will continue to attend this program every year, invite friends and neighbors to attend… and post the entire event for all of my social media to see, in hopes that watching it will change not only people’s minds about how careless they can be getting behind the wheel but how devastating our choices can be.”

Caroline Baumker
Senior Janessa Salcedo is led away from senior Kristen Sedlacek by an officer at the crash site.

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Road to Reality makes deadly comeback