To raise awareness of drunk driving, juniors and seniors at Woodbridge High School participated in a program called ”Every 15 Minutes” last week by watching a simulation of a crash scene and gathering for an assembly to hear speakers on the subject of driving under the influence.
“We wanted to raise awareness of drinking and driving,” assistant principal Belinda Averill said. “Prom is coming up in late May, so we want [the students] to understand the dangers of something like this.”
Most students responded positively to the program, saying they realized the dangers of driving under influence.
“It was definitely a shocking experience,” junior Niki Altafi said. “I never realized how dangerous and deadly driving under influence could be.”
During the program, students watched a simulation of a drunk driving accident. According to the fictitious scene, senior Jesse Cerami was arrested on the spot for drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter while senior Keenan Kaya was pronounced dead on the scene, junior Jenna Hunter died in the hospital and senior Blake Rusick narrowly survived.
“Seeing my friends ‘die’ broke my heart,” senior Adam Lamar said. “I don’t want to encounter any of this in my real life, especially not on prom day.”
Students then gathered in the gym to watch a video on “Every 15 minutes,” produced by senior Carlos Cordova. Afterwards, they listened to a guest speaker, a Woodbridge alumna, talk about her experience of losing her mom to a drunk driving accident.
“I was teary by the end of the ceremony,” Altafi said. “I can’t imagine how it would feel like to lose my mom the same way [she] lost hers.”
A select group of students also pretended to be ‘dead’ every 15 minutes throughout the program. The students represented how often an underage driver is killed in a drunk driving accident. Three Irvine Police Department officers, including one dressed as a Grim Reaper, pulled the students out of class, declaring them ‘dead’ from a drunk driving accident. Senior Yume Nishi left a rose on each of the victims’ desks to remind the students of the accident.
“I got to participate in the program too and watch the kids,” Averill said. “I hope this really brought out the message ‘drinking and driving can kill you.’”