Every 15 Minutes concluded today with an assembly, which featured a video explaining the story and aftermath of yesterday’s car crash as well as letter-reading by participating students and their family members.
The assembly began with a video senior Danny Parris created, depicting the events before and after the simulated car crash.
In the video, all but one of the students involved in the crash, senior Jeff Gruen, spent the hours before the accident drinking. Senior Alex Hobby, who volunteered to be a designated driver, ended up drinking at a simulated party and then drove his friends home while intoxicated.
“I’m invincible,” he repeated in the video, when his friends tried to caution him against drinking and driving. “I weigh like 230 pounds.”
The video included scenes of each student in the hospital, including a scene where a doctor told Gruen he was paralyzed. Parris also incorporated a scene at the police station where Hobby realized the impact of his actions.
Students felt the video effectively tied together yesterday’s events with the program’s overall message.
“To know the full story behind the car crash made it much more significant than just seeing it through the live feed yesterday,” freshman Ryan Savage said.
During their retreat yesterday, the twenty-one students who represented the living dead and the five involved in the simulated crash wrote letters to their parents as if they were dead. The letters gave the victims a chance to tell their families what they’d never had a chance to say before.
“To begin, I wish I had said I love you so much more, to let you know I am as much a part of this family as you would like to think,” senior Helene Benz wrote.
Different students read their letters in the two assemblies, but most of the elements remained the same. Guest speaker Pam Lieber spoke about her sister’s death in 1987, which occurred when a drunk driver hit her while she was walking to her car. Senior Jonathan Domingos, an EMT in Prince George’s County, discussed a car accident in which he was hit by a drunk driver and suffered severe injuries as a result.
“It takes confidence to stand before you today and ask you to make the more difficult choice of sober, of being the designated driver,” Lieber said during the assembly,“to ask you to have confidence to be the one voice that speaks out against bad choices, to be the one who takes the keys away from someone who shouldn’t be driving.”
The assembly concluded with remarks from each of the participating students reminding the audience that Every 15 Minutes is meant to create a lasting impact on the decisions they make in the future.