ADAPT students involve town in annual initiative

Driving drunk during holiday season remains focus for MHS club


MARLBORO – The annual candlelight vigil and rally against drunken driving held at Marlboro High School expanded this season to include the entire community.

The vigil, held on Dec. 3, filled the high school’s newly renovated auditorium. Students who participate in the school’s Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Prevention Team (ADAPT) put the event together with assistance from the Marlboro Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse and the Marlboro Police Department’s Community Involvement Unit.

Ilse Whisner, public information coordinator for the Freehold Regional High School District, said this year’s event extends beyond one evening. She said this year’s theme is “Everyone Matters in Marlboro.”

ADAPT adviser Ronni Clerico-Knittel said the organizers are taking a proactive approach this holiday season. She explained that the high school vigil goes along with the annual December observance of National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. The initiative was started in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan, according to the Internet Web Site

Clerico-Knittel said student members of ADAPT sign a contract which states that they will abstain the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs throughout their time in high school.

ADAPT members chose to spread the word about drunken driving throughout Marlboro.

Local restaurants will be using cocktail napkins with the theme designed by the high schools students. The napkins will serve as a reminder to people not to drink and drive. Some restaurants also provided free nonalcoholic drinks to designated drivers throughout the week of the vigil.

A magnetic bumper sticker bearing a statement warning against drunk driving was also designed by students, according to Clerico-Knittel. She said the police department requested 30 bumper stickers to place on the back of police vehicles. The magnets were available to the pubic at the Dec. 3 vigil.

“The community alliance has guaranteed a billboard with our slogan for a month,” Clerico-Knittel said.

The billboard will go up on Route 79 on New Year’s Eve to remind people not to drink and drive.

New this year was the first Barbara Lieber Memorial Award given to a student who has dedicated himself or herself to spreading the message against drinking and driving.

Barbara Lieber was the mother of Alyssa Lieber, a former Marlboro ADAPT president. Barbara Lieber was killed by a drunk driver in 2005 while her daughter was serving as the ADAPT president.

Students wanted the memory of Alyssa’s mother to continue. A trophy was presented to Dillon Teisch, the current president of ADAPT, by Alyssa Lieber. Dillion’s name will be added to a plaque that will hang at the school.

ADAPT will also be sponsoring a poster contest about the dangers of drinking and driving for students in the Marlboro K-8 School District.

Marlboro High School students will also be signing pledges throughout the week. Last year one pledge included taking the keys away from someone who had been drinking. Each grade level has a different pledge to sign.

“I feel we’re getting out to the community,” Clerico-Knittel said