Every 53 minutes, one person dies from a drunk driving accident. Little Elm High School (LEHS) has set out to improve that statistic by hosting Shattered Dreams, a program designed to teach students the perils of drinking and driving.

On Thursday, the “Grim Reaper” marked students from various classrooms with a skull painted face to carry out their day as the “living dead” to represent victims of drunk driving accidents. These students stayed in class but could not talk or participate in any activities.

Friday’s schedule listed a Shattered Dreams presentation to all juniors and seniors in the theater, which entailed scenes shot from the audio and production class at LEHS, including a mock party scene and other depictions of underage drinking.

Brandon Jaquez, main student editor of the presentation, said the message behind the presentation is the “basic of why your mother tells you not to drink and drive.”

“It’s way too easy for kids to get ahold of any kind of substance,” Jaquez said. “People often don’t realize you can end up hurting someone else or even yourself. Sometimes we need that shock of reality.

As someone who lost a friend from a drunk driving accident, Jaquez said he hopes the presentation will help people think twice before deciding to drink and drive.

“My friend and I were hanging out one night,” Jaquez said. “I found out the next morning he died from drinking and driving. What really resonated with me was that the last people to see him alive were not his family but friends who he didn’t really know that well. That was jarring to realize and weighed heavy on my conscience.”

With prom on Saturday, Shattered Dreams couldn’t come at a better time. Following the presentation, there was a 9-1-1 call over the loud speaker indicating a (fake) crash that featured student actors involved in a drunk driving accident.

The Little Elm Fire Department, Little Elm Police Department and PHI Air Medical helicopter were also part of the demonstration. LW Towing also donated the cars used in the crash scene. After the crash reenactment, there was a presentation from a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) representative.

District Health Coordinator Toni Nelson said she is amazed at the response she has seen from students.

“I thought they (students) would be set in their ways,” Nelson said. “But they have been very attentive to the crash scene, and I think taken a lot from it. We do it before prom and hope they think back at this before making any decisions to drink and drive.”

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