Students who have pledged not to use drugs or alcohol on prom night may have saved themselves from potential disaster while earning extra money for their high schools.
This year, Liberty High School had the highest percentage of students signing the Prom Promise pledge -- promising not to use alcohol or drugs on prom night -- among all state high schools.
For collecting 981 signatures out of about 1,000 students, the Eldersburg school won a $4,500 award from Nationwide Insurance Co., said Helen Derwin, a physical education teacher who has coordinated Liberty's program for five years.
In previous years, the school participated in Operation Prom, a metro-wide program, and won $2,000 and $1,000 prizes for obtaining signatures.
Mrs. Derwin said that some of the award money will be donated
to D.A.R.E. (a drug education program), a portion will go to each class and some of the money will be used for outdoor, sand-filled volleyball courts at the school.
"You have to use the money so everyone benefits," she said, adding that she has accumulated close to $8,000 through these type of programs.
Some 29 other schools were awarded cash prizes ranging from $150 to $2,000. Winners were chosen based on the school's percentage of signed contracts combined with a score they received from a scrapbook of Prom Promise events and promotions that they compiled.
Liberty High included several Prom Promise promotions in its scrapbook, among them a Jeopardy game played by students and faculty with drinking and driving statistics questions and a Dum-Dum lollipop distribution day with the message "Don't be a dum-dum, Keep the prom promise!" attached to each lollipop.