By Ana DiGiovanni
On April 3rd, Cranford High School students and parents gathered together for an informational meeting on prom safety sponsored by the CHS PTA and Cranford Municipal Alliance. This meeting was led by Chief of Police James Wozniak, Prevention Links spokesman Michael Litterer, and Cranford Municipal Alliance leader Bill Ilaria.
Bill Ilaria warned students to make the right decisions when it comes to prom weekend and drinking. He reminded students not to “blow all of your hard work from the last twelve years in the last month of high school.” Ilaria emphasized the importance of not falling into the trap of drinking and potentially ruining what students have worked so hard for.
Michael Litterer followed up by reiterating Bill Ilaria’s points and informing both students and parents on the consequences that come from underage drinking. Litterer stated that 90% of underage drinking is in the form of binge drinking, making the consequences even more severe and dangerous. Litterer also explained that the earlier someone begins to drink, the more likely one will become dependent on alcohol. Litterer emphasized two new laws, the 911 Hold Harmless Law and the Overdose Prevention Act. Both of these laws allow two to three friends who may have taken part in underage drinking, but have been helping a friend who is in dire need of assistance, call the police to get help for their friend, without themselves getting in any trouble with the law. These laws are aimed at making sure less underage drinking tragedies occur.
Next in line to talk was James Wozniak, Cranford Chief of Police. Wozniak pointed out that kids are extremely impressionable, and that as parents, it is important to partake in “responsible consumption of alcohol.” Wozniak discussed that along with the legal consequences that both parents and teenagers face with underage drinking, there are also social implications. That being said, Wozniak advised students to “police each other.” Students must look out for each other and make sure that potentially dangerous situations are avoided. Wozniak finished his discussion by stating, “We do this because we care for you. We do this because we want to see you succeed in life.”
In addition to the discussion of illegal alcohol and drug consumption and the compromised decision making that may follow, the details of Project Graduation were discussed. Project Graduation is an alcohol and drug free celebration the night of graduation from 9:30 PM to 2:00 AM. This celebration is held at the Grand Centurion, and will be the 25th anniversary this year. Project Graduation allows students to gather in a safe environment and to engage in a number of games and activities with their fellow classmates for one last night.
After all of the information was given on Prom Safety and Project Graduation, 25 prom bids and one free limousine service were raffled off to seniors who attended the program with a parent. A large thank you would like to be given to the following contributors: Cranford Board of Education and Dr. Gayle Carrick, Superintendent, Cranford HS PTA and Mr. Rui Dionisio, Principal, Cranford Joint Action Committee, Cranford PAL, Cranford Booster Club, Arnold’s Pest Control, Cranford PBA, Anthony Sciarrillo, Esq., Cranford Municipal Alliance, Cranford Recreation Department, Cranford First Aid Squad, Cranford Clergy Council, Cranford Education Association, Prevention Links, In Memory of Starr Long, Cranford Swim Pool Utility, Cranford FMBA Local 37, and Livingston Avenue School PTA.