“Every 15 minutes” a valuable lesson

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by Zach James

In 15 minutes, you’ll be finished reading this piece of this edition and move on with your day. In 15 minutes, you’ll still be thinking about this piece.

In 15 minutes, another high school-aged teenager will tragically die due to a car accident via a drunk driver or texting while driving.

On Thursday afternoon, Carlisle High School students received a rude awakening as the “Every 15 Minutes” program came to the Warren County town and touched a lot of hearts.

The “Every 15 Minutes” program is a national coalition designed to bring awareness to high school students that drinking or texting while behind the wheel could bring severe consequences.

Take Carlisle senior Corbin Clark for example.

His plans are to attend Simpson College next year, major in accounting and play on the football team. Instead, he played the role of operating a car while intoxicated and killed two young girls.

Clark’s morning was a normal one. But, his afternoon was anything but ordinary. After being the one who “killed” the two girls, he was arrested and taken into custody. After that, he was transported to the Warren County Courthouse in Indianola where he was booked, had his fair trial and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Luckily, this was all fake.But, the emotions shown from the student body and others impacted made it all seem like it was happening for real.

And, sadly, it does happen for real. However, an event like this, can allow for prevention efforts to happen.

“We want to make sure something like this never happens,” Carlisle Principal Mike Anthony said. “The timeliness of this event is huge with prom coming up this week.”

“Every 15 Minutes” is a year-round project, but the most impact is brought on during the most important weeks of a school year – homecoming and prom.

Those two events are the prime events for high school students to go out and party. Whether alcohol is involved, students do stupid things. Those stupid things lead to bad results, and those bad results could change lives forever.

The stunned look reflected on all faces from freshmen to seniors in the crowd as they stood behind the police tape. Tears were shed as some saw their best friends being put onto a body board, taken into ambulances and even one being put in handcuffs and escorted by police into an official car.

The students, however, had no idea that the crash was going to be part of the day.

They thought there was going to be an assembly at the end of the day honoring all those students who were pulled out of classes representing the statistic that every 15 minutes a student dies in a car accident. Some took that concept seriously, too.

For example, Turner Maryfield was one of the very last to be selected. He was only 17, and as students heard his obituary, written by his parents prior to the afternoon, tears filled some faces as disbelief ran across the others, including Turner’s himself.

“I don’t know what to say,” Turner said as he walked away from his peers by the police. “I didn’t think I would get chosen.”

He wasn’t the only one who got selected. As each one of them was taken away from classes, shock hit their faces just as a car would collide with another in a crash.

Students stay at the school overnight, as they are “dead” and cannot have contact with the outside world for 24 hours.

The event caused intense emotions to sweep among Wildcat students throughout the day.

Carlisle student Tyler Millard summed it up very well: “Because of this event, I will never drink or text while driving ever again. I won’t even think twice about it.”

Zach James is a junior at Simpson College majoring in multimedia journalism. He is a staff writer for The Simpsonian and the Sports Director for KSTM radio.