Every 15 Minutes Serves as Lesson to Students


Senior Nicole Goldstein was one of the pedestrians struck by a drunk driver, acted out by senior Camila Torres. Every 15 Minutes is sponsored by Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and took place March 19 and 20.

Every two years, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) puts on Every 15 Minutes, a reenactment of a drunk driving car accident which occurs on the RHS Campus. This year the event will take place March 19.

Throughout the years, Every 15 Minutes has been used as a way to ensure that students understand the consequences of drinking and driving. Since drinking alcohol has become such a major part of high school culture, administration and SADD feel it is important for students to witness first-hand the damage that these kinds of decisions can cause.

“What makes it so powerful is that it seems so real,” senior Erin Johnson said. “It becomes so emotional that you begin to feel like the event really occurred.”

The event begins with a fictitious video of a party that occurs during school time. The students then are driven to school by a pseudo-drunk driver. After they crash in front of the RHS parking lot, passengers are killed and the driver is badly injured. The kids are taken to the hospital where their parents can see them in their lifeless state.

At the assembly, the deceased students state what could have happened if they had decided to decline the ride from the intoxicated driver. Finally, the driver gives her statement of regret for what she has done and examines the consequences of her actions.

Students, staff and parents are always very moved by the event. Club advisor and psychology teacher Christine Zafonte said, “The reason it is so powerful and emotional is that the students need to understand the consequences of drinking and driving or any other destructive decision.”

Because SADD recently changed from being Students Against Drunk Driving to Students Against Destructive Decisions, Every 15 Minutes will also incorporate other destructive decisions. In the party video, students also acted out smoking marijuana before they drove. One of the students is shown texting while driving.

Another change is that the assembly speaker will be Debbie Hardy, a mother who lost her daughter to drunk driving, rather than a law enforcement official like in years past.

“Seeing a mother up on the stage, teenagers will parallel that to seeing one of their friends’ mom talk about their child,” Zafonte said.

Every 15 Minutes focuses not only on the crash, but the events that would occur afterwards. Students plan the funeral for their dead classmates, and those who are killed in the crash write letters to their parents apologizing for their actions. All of these events are designed to help students realize that drunk driving accidents go beyond those in the crash.

“It really shows how much making a poor decision like that can influence an entire community,” senior Elizabeth Hubbard said. “It makes an event like this more of personal thing to people instead of a “oh that’s only on the news, it would never happen to mea�� kind of thing.”