From April 21 to 22, Orange County School of the Arts participated in the “Every 15 Minutes” program, which is designed to educate students about the dangers of driving under influence of drugs and alcohol (DUI). On the 21st, every 15 minutes, a bell rang and a student was pronounced “dead,” pulled out of class, and isolated from other students until the next afternoon after the assembly. The “dead” were not allowed to communicate with the “live” in order to simulate a situation of real death and were guided to a special room by the “grim reaper.”
Four students were chosen to act in the crash scene simulation on Thursday afternoon, which was done live in front of all juniors and seniors. Two of them were “drunk” and the other two were sober. Sober or not, both set of students get involved in a fatal car accident and face the terrifying consequences of the accident that could have been avoided by not drinking and driving. All make-up was done impressively by students of OCSA’s make-up class, while few Production & Design students also helped to set up the crash scene. With the realistically designed crash site and participation from official police officers, medics, and firemen, the crash scene felt real and the crowd was silent, intensely watching the scene immediately after the crash.
On Friday, the final assembly took place for all juniors and seniors. The assembly included reading of letter/eulogy by the parents of one of the dead students from the crash scene. This was followed by a letter from the dead to her parents–what she would have said to them as she died. The tears of the parents and their dear daughter led to tears of the audience members, who will hopefully promise to never drink and drive. There wasn’t any applause. Only silence, respect, gratefulness, thoughts, and sound of sniffles filled the theater… But we all knew that we applauded the participants’ courage and the works of all those who helped to make this event happen. Most of all, we all promised ourselves that we will never drive under influence of a drug and/or alcohol for ourselves, for those we love, and for others around us.
Another part of the final assembly was a short film that told the full story of the causes and effects of the crash. This film was created in matter of just 12 hours with the directors editing all the way until the hour before screening. It was produced by Griffin Meyers, and co-directed and edited by Soorim Lee and Jamie Ostmann. However, it was not a two-man show. There were others who helped with different parts of the film: Evan C. Barda (last interviews), Alec Billante (creator of pre-crash scene), Gigi Copeland (creator of pre-crash scene), Christine Moulton (court-house scene), and Evie Masters (court-house scene). Without them, there will be parts of this film missing, and it was because of all these filmmakers’ passion and hard work that the film was able to be screened at the final assembly and help send the important message: never drink and drive.
In the end, it was the work of countless amount of people who made the Every 15 Minutes program at OCSA successful. In the end, perhaps only one thing truly matters: we have learned not to drive under the influence of drug/alcohol… and so have you.
I promise not to drink and drive.