None Under 21 Program leaves lasting impact on high school students


High school students watch a video about drunk driving at the None Under 21 event at Hiram College.

Taylor Hudak

The annual None Under 21 event was held today at Hiram College. The program began with a video depicting the horrors of drunk driving, leaving a gymnasium full of high school students silent— some even in tears.

“One of the things about this event is that we use real people from this area where drinking and driving has effected their lives,” said Community Resource Officer Tricia Knoles.

The point is to show the students that drunk driving is a real problem and is not something that just happens in the movies.

“Our youngest son Ryan will forever be 14. August 13 2001, Ryan was killed in a motor vehicle accident,” said Mark Streem who lost his son to a drunk driver.

Ryan’s father, Mr. Streem, now chooses to bring awareness to drunk driving through his son’s memory along with several others during today’s event.

“Although it’s a horrible thing to have to go through, they chose to use that traumatic event that and that loss of a loved one to save someone else from making that decision,” said Knoles.

Another perspective was also provided during the program— from Aaron, who killed his best friend in a drunk driving accident.

“I jerked the wheel to the right, the truck flipped three times, wrapped around a telephone poll. I couldn’t come to the realization that my actions took another human being’s life in such an ignorant act… especially to my best friend,” said Corey.

In addition to the speeches, a staged drunk driving scene was also on display as students entered and exit the building.

“Hopefully, this opens eyes of the juniors and seniors that were here today that this could happen to anybody,” said Knoles.

As students passed through the walk of remembrance, many of them approached family members of drunk driving victims — specifically Gina, who lost her 17 year old daughter, Teresa Conti, to a drunk driving crash. Since losing her daughter, Gina has been attending None Under 21 for the past 17 years.

She and the others are determined to work hard to prevent other young people and their families from experiencing the same pain.

Taylor Hudak is a TV2 reporter. Contact her at [email protected]