Talking about or watching a public service announcement about the dangers of drinking and driving oftentimes doesn't have the impact it should on high school students. Seeing one of their peers pulled out of class by the grim reaper, having the details of the alcohol-related traffic accident they were involved in and their death announcement read aloud by a Comal County Sheriff's Crime Prevention Officer and an obituary read by one of the student's best friends certainly does hit close to home.
It was all part of the "Shattered Dreams" program at Canyon Lake High on March 21, when 26 students throughout the day were taken from classrooms. For the rest of the school day they remained silent and wore makeup that was a sign of the mock-fatal accident they were involved in. "This isn't like talking about things like this that could happen to your friends on Facebook or in casual conversation, this is real," said senior Olivia Ramirez. "One of my classmates started crying. When we hear the death notice and the obituary read, it's hard to know what to say but it really makes you think about getting into a car with anyone who's been drinking or using any illegal drugs." As part of the program, Comal ISD grief counselors were on hand in the library to talk to students, and a representative from Mother's Against Drunk Driving told the story of her own daughter being killed by a drunk driver. "This has much more impact than anything else we can tell students," said Adam Pastrano, Comal County Sheriff's Officer.
"This brings out a lot of emotions and really hits home with the kids." Canyon Lake High principal Cheryl Koury said the timing of the "Shattered Dreams" program was perfect with the CLHS prom scheduled for April 6 in San Marcos. "There are dangers sometimes associated with high school proms," Koury said. "This program not only gives our students excellent life lessons, it makes them think about all they could lose by making one bad decision." CLHS campus social worker Megan Lester said the program was a success. "It was a very emotional day and I think our goal of students understanding the dangers of drinking and driving, or getting in the car with someone who's been drinking, was reached," Lester said. "I think everyone took this program very seriously."
Originally Posted on the Comal ISD website: 3/22/2013