Drinking and driving does more than shatter dreams

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Drinking and driving does more than shatter dreams

Siandhara Bonnet

Siandhara Bonnet

Siandhara Bonnet

Corporal Bruce Trzeciak, senior Zane Hudson, and junior Sierra Stevenson watch as their loved ones are taken away by EMS

By Siandhara Bonnet

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It’s all fun and games until people get hurt. Drinking and driving, however, is not a game.

Student Council hosted its biannual Shattered Dreams program — designed to educate students on the importance of making good decisions and the consequences of drinking and driving. During the program, students simulate a car accident. A student is taken out of class, acting as the living dead, every 15 minutes.

Junior Emilee Earthman was one of these living dead. “At this one point, my best friend came and just sat with me for a while,” she said. “She just sat on her phone, but at one point I felt her eyes on me, just looking, and she teared up for a second. It took everything in me not to hug her or comfort her or burst into tears myself because at that moment I felt like I was really seeing what would happen if I had died.”

On the first day, the junior and senior classes gathered in the Performing Arts Center to watch the video made earlier in the school year. It showed students at a party drinking and having fun until time to leave. Then one student made the decision to drive intoxicated with two other people in the car.

“The filming in the jail cell really impacted me because I felt isolated from the world and lonely,” senior drunk driver Dustin Ramirez said. “I watched people that I love and their families suffer through the pain of death or serious injury, and I couldn’t live with myself being responsible for their lives.”

You don’t think it can happen to you, you don’t think it can happen to your best friend.”

— Senior Keaton Adcock

Once the video was over, students were escorted outside to the parking lot where the scene of an accident awaited.

“You don’t see it coming,” Keaton Adcock, senior workshop leader and Student Council member, said. “You don’t think it can happen to you, you don’t think it can happen to your best friend. All that’s left for you is pain, and the overwhelming desire to just make it all go away.”

For the next 15 minutes, students watch as members of their classes enact what would happen if an accident had actually taken place, but for some, it’s more real than others.

“Seeing how it affected my friends and family really put into perspective of how life can be taken away so fast,” senior crash victim Maria Young said.

The scene began with junior Sierra Stevenson screaming after waking up to the accident, the discovery of the night’s events by Ramirez, and the awakening of senior driver Zane Hudson.

“When Sierra’s first scream rang out, everything suddenly felt so real,” junior crash victim Lynley Eilers said. “Zane rushed to my side bawling and I could only lie still, feeling helpless, tears streaming down my face.”

After the scene ended with the arrest of Ramirez, the deaths of Young and Winsor, and the departure of Stevenson and Eilers, and seniors Caitlin Franco and Hudson, the crash victims were not seen for the rest of the day and the living dead moved throughout the school. At the end of the day, however, the victims and the walking dead met up for an overnight stay where they would watch the entire video, crash included, listen to a guest speaker, and watch videos about the importance of making the right decision.

I’ve had friends, even family, in alcohol related accidents and all that pain just came rushing back.”

— Senior Mariah Springer

“When the guest speaker at the retreat started talking about saving future victims of drunk driving accidents, it really put new things into perspective,” Lindsay Harris, senior Student Council Vice President and workshop leader, said. “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to present to a group of students that needed someone to step into a role of speaking against alcohol and poor decision making.”

The next morning, it was time for the funeral. Students listened to eulogies written by friends and family members of the deceased crash victims (Eilers, Winsor, and Young). The eulogies were followed by a slideshow of the three girls and their lives.

“Even though nobody actually died, the seriousness and possibility of events like this happening could not be more real,” senior living dead Christian Vieira said. “I realized the impact that I had on my classmates and classes, and discovered that me being gone has a ripple effect.”

Many students were impacted by the events of Shattered Dreams, especially those that took part in the crash scene and were living dead.

“I never knew the pain would hit me so hard during the overnight stay,” senior living dead Mariah Springer said. “I’ve had friends, even family, in alcohol related accidents and all that pain just came rushing back. It felt like I was losing them all again.”

Some students became more aware of the impact of one poor decision.

“I didn’t fully recognize the pain that can be brought until watching the video of the crash scene,” Winsor said. “Seeing Zane and Sierra crying over lost ones really highlighted the importance of making smart choices and thinking of the consequences.”

Others reevaluated their perspective on life.

“This whole experience has made me realize how precious life is and how important it is for us to make smart choices in our lives,” Vieira said. “We only get one life on this Earth and we can not let it go to waste.”