Recently, students at Mountain View High School organized an “Every 15 Minutes” presentation for the student body. The program sought to open the eyes of students to the dangers of drinking and driving in a two day presentation. On the first day, students viewed a simulation of an automobile accident that occurred as a result of a drunk driver, which was elaborated upon during the assembly on the following day through a video presentation and mock funeral. Parents, friends, and simulation victims read letters to their loved ones, sharing what they wish they had told one another before their loss.
Many students were skeptical about the presentation, doubting its impact after the simulation on the first day. Several felt it to be too theatrical, with each individual event dramatized and stretched to occupy much more time than was realistic. Entering the second day, I personally doubted how beneficial and effective the presentation that ensued would be. However, after watching parents react upon hearing about the loss of their child and listening to the true, raw, emotions of those reading letters to lost loved ones, I found myself struggling fruitlessly to hold back tears. As I watched the presentation, I began to imagine how I would feel if I were in their shoes, realizing how many things I need to say to the ones I love.
“Seeing the video footage with our own students in the roles was powerful. I was also very moved by the mom who so generously shared her story with us. I like that we took time as a school to all come together to examine life beyond the classroom.” Madeleine Miraglia, a Mountain View High School History teacher, said.
The Every 15 Minutes program, though a bit over dramatized, brought to my attention something that I always took for granted, not because I didn’t know it was so fleeting, but because I would rather think about it as eternal than acknowledge just how fragile and temporary life is. The program brought to the forefront of my thoughts something that had been nagging at the back of mind for an extremely long time; they made me realize just how important it is to let our loved ones know how much they mean to us, because nothing is for certain. We may be here tomorrow, we may not.
Several students participated in the event by spending a week playing the role of a victim of a drunk driving accident. These students were involved in an overnight retreat, and exchanged letters with their loved ones detailing what they wished they had shared with them before they died.
Reflecting on the experience, participant and Mountain View High School Senior Bailey Rogers said, “I have a whole new respect for police officers and EMTs… as scary and traumatizing as [the experience]was I think it really opened my eyes and hopefully everyone else’s too!”
Junior Maggie Moor expressed a similar sentiment, saying, “I thought it was an amazing thing to be a part of. I learned so much and made some really great new friends. I just hope enough people took it seriously.”