News Category: Regional News
Every fifteen minutes a person dies in an alcohol related car crash. This is the premise that “Every 15 Minutes,” a nationwide program that has been adopted by Amador Valley High School, is built upon. Over the course of two days, Amador juniors and seniors participated participated in the program and learned about the effects of drunk driving on their family, school, and community.
The first day revolved around the car crash itself. Students were shown a video of teenargers attending a house party where alcoholic drinks were being served. The party got out of control and the police arrived, causing the kids to hurry home to escape a punishment. In this rush, the kids often made the bad decision of driving drunk or riding with a drunk driver. On the way home, the kids got into a fatal car accident. In order to make the experience seem as authentic as possible, students were taken outside to witness a recreation of the car crash. Real students from Amador played the roles of the kids in the crash, those involved in the accident were covered in fake blood, police were called to the scene, firefighters and paramedics arrived, and the coroner was present; everything was an accurate depiction of what would happen in a real car crash like this. Additionally, throughout the entire day, one student was pulled out of class every fifteen minutes to simulate his/her death.
A funeral was held on the second day. The entire junior and senior class attended a funeral for the students who “died” throughout the day as well as those who passed away in the crash. The funeral began with a touching video of the families coping with the losses of their loved ones. It showed all the small ways in which a person is missed and how the life of others around them changed: a boy reached for two controllers to play videogames, but put one back in the absence of his brother; a mother lost the brightness in her smile; parents had to help their incapacitated son use the restroom. The students and the parents also read letters to each other, saying what they wish they would have said to each other if they had one last chance to do so.
The entire experience is emotional, impactful, and truly eye-opening. During the funeral assembly, many students could be seen wiping their tears. The authenticity of the entire experience, seeing your own classmates and friends pass away in an accident that could very well become a reality due to poor choices, is incredibly poignant. It shows the terrible toll that drunk driving takes on the family and loved ones of the victim. The goal of this program is to educate students on the terrible consequences of drunk driving, and prevent them from making such a mistake in the future. The loss and range of emotions that people felt during this program hopefully serve as a powerful catalyst for change in the future.
To learn more about the nationwide Every 15 Minutes program, visit this link.
To watch the recreation of the program at Amador, including the crash and its aftermath, visit this link.
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