WICHITA FALLS, TX
Every eight minutes someone in the U.S. is killed in a car and alcohol is involved – which is why Henrietta High School students are committed to raising awareness about drunk driving.
The sounds of a crash came over the intercom Wednesday morning at Henrietta High School, followed by a heartbeat. The same sequence repeated eight minutes after that. Someone dressed as the grim reaper roamed the halls pulling random students out of class. When they returned their faces were painted white and they wore white tee-shirts bearing tragic messages such as, ‘I was killed by a drunk driver’ or ‘I was paralyzed by a drunk driver.’ They were now "ghosts" - portraying the victims of drunk driving accidents and weren’t allowed to speak for the rest of the day.
It’s all part of the Shattered Dreams Program and students, like Riley Watson, say it's been an eye-opening experience.
“It really brings to light the truth to know that people are killed this often. It's crazy hearing the crash on the loud speaker every eight minutes which means another person has died. It's not just a game we're playing in high school. It really happens and it makes you feel somber.”
Members of the Henrietta High School Student Council learned about the drinking and driving program at student council camp last summer from Keller High School students and felt it would be impactful for their school. The students organized an assembly with guest speakers. Ryan Clayton, who was paralyzed in a drunk driving accident, shared his story - urging teens not to get behind the wheel after drinking.
“If you're going to go out and do something make sure you have someone that can drive. That's the way to do it because, if not, you can end up in the situation that I'm in.”
One of the organizers and Student Council Executive President Savannah Hunter has good advice for others.