North Zulch High School halted their regular school days last Thursday and Friday to engage in a two day “Shattered Dreams” event in which students were immersed in a realistic accident re-enactment to confront students with the reality of the consequences of driving while distracted.
Historically, drinking and driving or driving under the influence was a number one cause of death; we’ve since wised up to the fact that being distracted while driving is just, if not more, of a contributing factor of motor vehicle accidents and fatalities.
North Zulch Senior High School student, Robin Diserens, teamed up with Mary Jo Prince, Program Coordinator for Brazos Valley Injury Prevention Coalition and Safety City Project and SAFE 2 SAVE app creator, Marci Corry, to coordinate the event for the district.
The schedule included a staged car accident with a fatally injured student (Robin Diserens), the at-fault student driver (Trey Crocker) being questioned and arrested and the Justice of the Peace pronouncing Diserens dead. After the pronouncement, Diserens was loaded into a hearse and driven away. The school’s flag was even lowered to half-staff.
Every fifteen minutes another teenager becomes a statistic throughout the school day. In the evening, students are tasked with making a poster with their name and obituary on it. They also write a letter to their parents about what they wish they would’ve told them and parents respond with a similar letter.
“I wish I would have appreciated more often those amazing home cooked meals, the fact my clothes were always washed, and how you were always there for me,” student, Ryan Housley, lamented. “Dad, you always game me the best you could in everything. I always had what I needed. I just wish I would’ve thanked you more for those things.”
The “don’t drive distracted” message hit close to home for the parents as well.
In a portion of the letter written to Ryan from his parents they said, “Many times you left with the reminders of “drive carefully”, “use your lights” or “don’t drive too fast”. All we were trying to say was that we loved you so much that we couldn’t bear to lose you, but our greatest sorrow would be that you walked away this morning without knowing how much we love you.”
To close the program out a mock court session was held for the parents and students, along with guest speakers sharing facts and statistics regarding the hazards of driving distracted and under the influence. Students also got to wear simulation goggles, which gave the effect of being intoxicated by various substances.
Mary Jo Prince, Program Coordinator, Brazos Valley Injury Prevention Coalition and Safety City Project states, “If we save one life, one student, then it’s worth it and we have done our job.”
Too many times we all get distracted while driving. It could be looking at the map to figure out where we’re going, putting on make-up, tending to our kids in the back seat or texting that friend to tell them “we’re on our way”. We’re all guilty, even if it’s not of drinking and driving.
The “Shattered Dreams” program message to help educate to make better driving choices and to save lives is one that we all should be reminded of every time we get behind the wheel.