Students participate in the Every Fifteen Minutes program

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Students participate in the Every Fifteen Minutes program

Jessica Smith - Editor-in-Chief

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“Every 15 Minutes means so much more to me than ‘don’t drink or text and drive.’ It’s taught me to value the lives around me and make decisions with everyone in mind.”

-Senior Shaine Lutsky

On Monday and Tuesday, CHS students participated in the program Every 15 Minutes.  This event occurs every two years in an effort to promote awareness about the risks and consequences of driving under the influence.  During the event, some students posed as “the walking dead,” who were killed by distracted drivers and could not talk or acknowledge other students during their time on campus.  In addition to the walking dead, two other students were killed in a car crash that was staged in the CHS faculty parking lot.  Juniors and seniors watched the simulated crash featuring actual CHS students while freshmen and sophomores attended a presentation that also raised awareness about the effects of drunk and distracted driving.  The guest speaker at this assembly spoke about her personal experience with drunk driving that left her son dead, hoping to discourage distracted driving among CHS students.

While students watching the program have one experience, students who are active participants say that they felt even more impacted.  Students who were considered dead in the event are stripped of all electronics and communication upon their pronounced accident.  If they die before the crash, they must attend their regular classes without speaking to anyone in their classes.  After they witness the crash, program participants then travel to a cemetery and police station to learn more about the effects of drunk and distracted driving.  Later, they engaged in group conversations and hear stories from several speakers who were personally impacted by dunk or distracted driving accidents.

“Personally, the Every 15 Minutes program really made an impact on me and the rest of the student body,” said sophomore Kamila Weiss.  “Walking around the campus and seeing so many people cry was very humbling, and I think this experience will affect people for the rest of their lives.”

On Monday night, both the students and parents participating in the program wrote letters to one another sharing their final thoughts. Juniors and seniors attended a funeral service on Tuesday.  At the funeral, a video recapping Monday’s events with the foreword of the crash was played for the audience.  After the video was shown, students who partook in the program, in addition to some of the parents of those students, shared the letters that they wrote to their loved ones.  They shared stories and memories along with words they would have said if they were given the chance.  They finished the ceremony with a guest speaker who shared her personal drunk driving experience. She was a passenger in a car in which the driver had been intoxicated, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down after a collision when he crashed the car into a tree.  For many of the people involved, this experience was the most difficult.

Administrators and the program directors believe that this year’s event was largely successful.  They plan to receive feedback from students and make improvements for future success.

 

Photos by Stephanie Hartog – Photo EditorChelsea Argue – Photographer, and Talia Plachta – Photographer

 

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