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PLACENTIA : Valencia Students Find 'Dead Day' Instructive

October 29, 1994|DANIELLE A. FOUQUETTE

About 45 students at Valencia High School spent Friday dressed in black, their faces painted white, and trying desperately not to talk.

It wasn't a mime assembly but Dead Day, an annual tradition at the school during Red Ribbon Week.

The students were dressed and made up to depict dead teen-agers who were victims of alcohol and drugs. Wearing mock tombstones on their shirts that told the story of their deaths, the students attended class but avoided unnecessary conversation and interaction.

"We're trying to show students some things they may not have thought about," said senior Susan Hickman. "We want them to get a sense of the impact a dead teen-ager can have" on friends and family.

Senior Tina Katz said that spending the day pretending to be dead was "creepy."

"Especially with Halloween coming up," she said. "You're sort of in this mood already, and then to be doing this is weird."

Some students joked with her about her appearance, Katz said, but others' reactions ranged from curious to nervous.

Dead Day culminated a number of activities aimed at preventing substance abuse. Earlier in the week, students heard from a man who was partially paralyzed when he crashed his car while driving drunk. A Juvenile Court judge and some of the youths who had appeared before him in court spoke to the students about the effects of drugs.

Senior Ling Lu said that Dead Day helped her realize how many people one death would affect.

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