‘Grim’ Gong Hits Home

‘Grim’ Gong Hits Home

As part of their yearlong substance abuse awareness campaign, the high school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions Club and adviser Bridget Lopiccolo staged their 15th annual Ghost-Out Day on March 23.

A gong rang on the loudspeakers every 20 minutes throughout the school day, signaling the entrance of a student dressed as the Grim Reaper into a classroom. As Lopiccolo read aloud from real-life tragic police calls of teens being killed due to drugs or alcohol, the Reaper stalked the rooms and selected someone to “strike,” who was then asked to wear a special black T-shirt and remain silent for the rest of the day to signify that a life has been impaired or lost due to a destructive decision.

“This is one of the most important things SADD does,” said senior Hallie McCarthy. “I think it’s important for teens to know how someone’s life and the people around them can be affected by destructive decisions. It is haunting to hear that gong ring throughout the school day knowing what it represents and the message it is sending.”

“For the past 15 years as the SADD adviser, it has been my grim task to hold this day each year,’ said Lopiccolo. “I know it is a difficult day for many, but it is extremely important that students know that with each decision they make, there is a consequence.”

This year, Lopiccolo added a new element, asking students in each classroom she visited if they knew someone who had died due to alcohol or drugs.

“So many students raised their hands,” Lopiccolo said. “What a scary reality.”