Wednesday, January 27, 2021

CHS Hosts “Every 15 Minutes” to Prevent Drinking & Driving (Video)

Staged collision in front of Coronado High School.

Coronado High School Juniors and Seniors participated in a 24 hour experience to learn more about the negative impacts of drinking and driving using “real-life experiences without the real-life risks”.  Through a grant, CHS partnered with the program Every 15 Minutes in order to “act out” experiences beginning with a party and ending with death and a student driver going to jail for over 14 years.  The name of the program comes from a statistic that every 15 minutes someone in the United States is killed from an alcohol or drug-related traffic collision.

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A parent touches the casket containing her deceased daughter.  The student played the role of a passenger killed in the collision.

Here is the video produced that was shown to all CHS Juniors and Seniors (including parents that wanted to attend the event):

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Nicole Belong is the ASB advisor and a teacher at CHS.  She was responsible for bringing the program to CHS.  The Coronado Times asked her a few questions about the event:

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Nicole Belong, ASB Advisor and Coronado High School Teacher (Credit: LinkedIn)

Why did CHS decide to bring Every 15 Minutes to Coronado juniors and seniors?

Two years ago, our school resource officer Sherri Manelo was able to get us an opportunity to apply for the grant to bring E15M to CHS. Only 150 schools in California get an opportunity to apply for that grant. There was a need for education within our student body (and at all high school campuses) about safe driving, the choices we make and how those choices can impact our community. Sherri told me about this at our Homecoming pep rally in 2017. I was in the middle of this HUGE event and all of the craziness of Homecoming, but I jumped at the opportunity to apply for the grant then and coordinate the program for our school because knew how impactful and important the message of this program is.  I love our students and don’t ever want to see them go through the pain that would occur if a preventable alcohol, drug, or impaired crash took one of their lives.  I presented the event to my ASB, and they were all over it. My ASB students are these amazing leaders and wonderful event planners. We designated a task team to work exclusively on this event to get all of the details in order. They did an amazing job, two years ago and our task team this year was on fire getting the details worked out!

What is the overall goal of the program?

The goal of the program is to make students aware of the impact that impaired driving can have on themselves, their families and communities.

What has the reaction been from the students?  The parents?

CHS students have overwhelmingly told me that the program was very impactful. The students I spoke with and teachers sharing their students reactions with me, stated that they were all very moved and impressed with our local agencies involvement, missing their friends who were isolated overnight, and the guest speakers. They were surprised how many of our Coronado Police, Coronado Fire, paramedics, California Highway patrol officers were present. How many doctors and nurses took time to film the medical scenes at Sharp Coronado, the judges, bailiffs and attorneys that took time out of their days to film the sentencing. I think that impressed upon them how important the topic was to our community. I heard from so many of our students and parents how impactful Chief Peak’s talk was at the assembly. Many students told me, that they were surprised that even though they knew everything was not real, how emotional they got at the presentations… they said it really drove home the message of the program. The emotion made it memorable… which, as a teacher that is all you want and can hope for. If they remember it, the hope is that it helps them make good and safe choices.

The parents of our “living dead” were so wonderful. They go through this simulation, that I can’t imagine going through with my own. The ones that have talked to me about their experience were happy to have their kids participate and be ambassadors to their peers, knowing how important the topic is. Parents of our living dead had to be on board for their children to participate. The parents that I spoke with really appreciated and were very impacted the speaker who came to talk to them the night of 3/10 in our theater.

Will CHS host this program again in two years?  How is it funded?

Absolutely! I will coordinate the event again if we are able to get the grant again.  Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Administration.

For more information on this program, visit www.everyfifteenminutes.org/aboutus/

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