In their classrooms, Oak Hills High School students watched as fellow students got into the spirit for prom on video, drinking and then climbing into their cars.
The juniors and seniors then left their classrooms, filing out and sitting in bleachers near the school's gymnasium, the results of the students' drinking and driving concealed, for the moment, under a tarp.
Then it was whisked away, and students had front row seats for the aftermath of a two-car collision, with one car still smoking and its teenaged driver half out of his window, dead in a pool of blood.
A week before the 2011 prom, Oak Hills held its first "Every 15 Minutes" Prom SLAM (Simulated Live Action Melodrama) drunk driving awareness assembly. Donated cars and real life emergency personnel were added to a student production of a prom night tragedy.
"The program primarily targets juniors and seniors and is typically held every other year with a new set of junior and senior students," Oak Hills Activities Director Stan Clark said Thursday. "The [California Highway Patrol] provides a grant for $10,000 to use for the program ... and we received additional grant money this year in the amount of $2,500 from State Farm Insurance."
The Every 15 Minutes program is a two-day CHP program that simulates the realities of a drunk driving accident and discusses the long-term ramifications, with testimony from survivors, next of kin and first responders. The program's name refers to the rate at which drunk driving deaths were said to happen in 1995, when the program began.
Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.