Every 15 Minutes is a program that educates teenagers about the dangers of drinking and driving. A few years ago, it was stated that every fifteen minutes, someone was killed in an alcohol-related collision.
Thanks to wonderful programs like this, the number has improved. Unfortunately, now texting while driving is a problem as well.
I am a junior at , and for the past two days, the students at the high school just haven't been the same. Many of the seniors and juniors "lost" someone in the accident or couldn't believe how real the assembly on Thursday was.
On Thursday, seniors and juniors watched a reenactment of a real-life situation involving an alcohol related car crash. Ambulance, fire trucks, the coroner, the police, and a helicopter set the tone on our very own football field. Some students cried, but that number was nowhere near the amount that was affected today.
Today, throughout the day, three assemblies took place in our . It started with a public service announcement from Austrailia, showing graphic scenes of car crashes. Following the video, Officer Wes Morgan educated us through his personal experiences.
I remember the line that stuck out of his speech most for me was, "No, not my baby girl." An intoxicated, fifteen-year old girl died in his arms. That was the moment when the program started to settle in for me. I am only 16 years old, not much older than that girl. I couldn't imagine having all my hopes and dreams lost and never knowing what my future would be like.
Following that, we heard from a young speaker who was the only survivor of a deadly car accident, involving friends of hers under the influence. She spoke with an unexplainable courage as she shared her story.
After those two intense speeches, we watched the video of our fellow students. It started with a typical high school party scene. Sooner or later, the crash occurred, and the video plays out the scene from the previous day on the football field. It not only gave us a second look at what happened yesterday, but it also showed us intimate scenes in the courtroom, jail, and emergency room. A mother was told she had lost her child.
Parents were told that they too lost their daughter. We saw her parents watching an old home video of her on her birthday at Disneyland. It was sad to think they'd never see her daughter smile like that again. Another student's spinal cord was broken in half, and she couldn't play soccer at Berkeley. She put away all her soccer trophies and medals, and she hid them away in her closet.
Our CFA was filled with sniffles and tears.
If the video didn't make you cry, the letters certainly would. Students involved had to write letters as if it were their last letter to their loved ones before they were in an alcohol related collision. Parents of the students also had to write letters about what they wish they could say to their kids. Three of the letters were read, and I suddenly had a new appreciation for life.
The great thing about Every 15 Minutes is that you don't have to be a teenager that parties a lot or drinks often. You don't even have to know any of the people on that stage. In one way or another, you connect to at least one aspect of this unforgettable experience.
Personally, I realized that a life can be lost at any second; we honestly have to make the most of what we have. It sounds so typical or cliche to say to live life to the fullest, but it's true. Many of us also learned that we have to be more appreciative of the people in our life. I must admit that I called my mom to tell her I loved her after the assembly.
All in all, I can definitely say that an amazing experience like this unified our school and made us closer than we had ever been. Please treausure your beautiful lives and the lives of others, and don't drink and drive.
For more pictures, please visit: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Photography-for-a-Cause/125937384174221