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WHS Students Learn Effects of Impaired Driving

Photo of Waller High School Shattered Dreams Program Waller High School (WHS) juniors and seniors did not expect the lesson they would learn on March 4-5. For the 10th time, WHS presented Shattered Dreams. Shattered Dreams is a two-day program that promotes responsible decision-making among high school students regarding underage drinking and impaired driving. It is designed to be a comprehensive underage drinking and impaired driving prevention program that involves the school staff, students, parents, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and area hospitals in the planning of the activities.

“Our goal today is to educate the students about the dangers of drinking and driving,” WHS Principal Stephanie Fletcher said. “We hope the lesson learned can save lives.”

On the first day, juniors and seniors were taken to the WHS student parking lot where they witnessed a staged car crash. With parent permission, several students played car crash victims, a drunk driver, and the grim reaper. In order to create a larger impact, onlooking students were not told of the program ahead of time. They watched on as emergency medical personnel treated the reenactment as a real-life car collision. Throughout the day, 15 students were pulled to represent the fact that every 15 minutes a life is taken due to drunk driving. After being pulled, students were taken to Camp Allen where they listened to guest speakers and read letters their families had written them.

Student actors were: Allyson Anderson, Cade Bartlett, Isabel Byrd, William Clayton, Chris Delgado, Jared Dicus, Curtis Fisher, Teresa Garza, Autumn Hodges, Hayleigh Koester, Jadan Matthews-Barnett, Kaleb McLean, Jacob Plata, Angel Ratcliffe, Tayvion Roe, Diego Sanchez, Leeanna Schmidt, Brianna Thaler, Trenton Tompkins, and Keith Watson.

WHS also used the reenactment as a teaching opportunity for the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class. Waller Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Dwayne Hajek gave students a step-by-step explanation of what the fire department and paramedics were doing and why.

“When I heard this was happening, I thought this would be a great opportunity for my students to see what we learn in the classroom implemented in real life because they will be doing this in the future,” EMT Teacher Natalie Miller said.

On the second day, WHS held an assembly where guest speakers spoke of how they were affected by drunk driving. The first speaker was Max Torres, who shared his history of drinking and substance abuse and how, in July 2011, he drove while intoxicated causing someone to lose their life. WHS senior Velicity Morgan told of her experience losing her grandfather to a drunk driver. Mark Rodriguez spoke of how his life was changed when a drunk driver took the life of his daughter. He and his family went on to create Krysta’s Karing Angels, an organization that brings awareness to the devastating effects of drunk driving. Afterwards, parents of the participating students read the letters they had written to their child and students read letters they wrote to their families.

“We hope this helps students understand how precious life is,” Fletcher said.

WHS would like to acknowledge the following individuals and organizations for helping make Shattered Dreams possible: Walt Snitkin, Mark Shaffer, Harris County Sheriff’s Office School Resources Officers, Waller Police Department, Waller County Sheriff’s Department, Chief Gene Schmidt and the Waller Fire Department, City of Prairie View Fire Department, Waller County EMS, Judge Delores Hargrave, Waller County Paint & Body, WHS JROTC, Camp Allen, Bellville St. Joseph Hospital, PHI Helicopter, Canon Funeral Home, Mark Rodriguez and Krysta’s Karing Angels, John Pelot, WHS video crew, WHS student Javier Montoya, WHS Theater Director Carrie Wood and her students, parents and students who participated in the program, and the WHS Administration.