Monte Vista High students got a personal glimpse at the potentially traumatic effects of driving while intoxicated last week, taking part in the school's Every 15 Minutes educational event.
The two-day program included a simulated fatal car crash, nighttime retreat for participating students and a school-wide assembly -- all designed to help encourage the teens to avoid driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or while using their cellphones.
"The program stresses the importance of making mature decisions and recognizing that their actions affect others besides themselves," parent volunteer Lori Stanton said.
The Every 15 Minutes event took place last Monday and Tuesday at the Danville high school, a collaborative effort among students, staff, parent volunteers, local law enforcement, emergency responders, area hospitals, clergy and other community members.
On Monday, students and staff gathered at the school football field to witness the simulated aftermath of a violent car crash, with selected students playing the roles of drivers and passengers. The simulation included on-site emergency triage, DUI investigation by law enforcement, medical transport by helicopter, hospital treatment and death, Stanton said.
Student participants then attended a retreat Monday night, with activities aimed at demonstrating the effects of driving while intoxicated or distracted, according to Stanton.
An assembly followed at the school on Tuesday. Presenters included Austin Whitney, an anti-drunk driving advocate and motivational speaker, and Robert Pack, of the Troy and Alana Pack Foundation -- which was named for two young Danville children who were killed by an intoxicated driver in 2003.
Monte Vista's Every 15 Minutes program was able to be presented because of a range of contributions, including PTSA funding, a federal grant, local business donations and many parent volunteer hours, Stanton said.