Shattered Dreams

Two-day drunk driving program held at high school


DHS Yearbook Staff

A staged crash took place at DHS with first responders, students and facility all participating and watching the demonstration.

Allie Tribe, Editor

Passersby were met with an unusual sight. Two crashed cars, ambulances, cop cars, a helicopter and the entire student body surrounding the scene. On March 10, DHS hosted the Shattered Dreams program. Shattered Dreams, created by the Bexar County DWI Task Force Advisory Board on Underage Drinking in 1998, includes a staged car accident and a “grim reaper” who pulls students from class, all with the main purpose of warning students of the dangers of impaired driving. 

Shattered Dreams isn’t completely new to DHS. While they hosted the program years ago, the school hadn’t put on the program in recent years.

“The Shattered Dreams project has been an ongoing event that DHS has hosted in the past, but due to COVID, I believe, it had been missed in a previous year,” Assistant Principal Brandi Shisler said. “The police department reached out to myself and Mr. Lackey about having the project this year, so we began planning.”

Once the administration had decided to put on the event, they got to work. Including members of the police department, fire department and EMT group, planning had to begin in December in order to organize the different moving parts. The team worked towards a March date for the program, citing the closeness of prom and spring break as the reasoning behind the decision.

“It definitely put the pressure on all those involved to make things happen as it was a bit of a time crunch to have the project in 3.5 months of planning,” Shisler said. “Everyone was wonderful to work with. We were all a team as we met monthly, emailed or texted to communicate to each other where we were in the process of completing our assigned tasks.”

Once planning was complete and the day rolled around, students were ushered out to the front parking lot, where they were met with two crashed cars and four of their peers, appearing unconscious and bloody from the staged crash.

“It was definitely a little concerning,” junior Hannah Smith said. “Walking out and seeing two cars crashed in front of the school isn’t something you’re used to.”

As the student body gathered around the scene, the first police cars arrived on scene. Following by an ambulance and fire truck, the first responders began running through the scene as if it was real, which gave students a first row seat to where a stupid decison could lead them. As the responders worked through the scene, the first victim, junior Austen Patterson, was claimed by the grim reaper.

Throughout the hour-long demonstration, students watched their classmates be loaded into a morgue vehicle, careflighted to the hospital, and strapped into an ambulance, while the drunk driver of the crash was handcuffed and taken to jail. 

“The dramatization of the mock drunk driving accident in front of school allowed students to see the enormous effort of so many agencies it takes to handle crashes,” Shisler said.

After the initial accident, participating students were pulled out of class as part of the “living dead,” and later that day the group of students were taken to the Methodist Church to further learn about the effects of drunk driving.

On day two of the simulation, students attended an assembly including the reading of students’ obituaries, memorial areas for each participating student and a speaker. The speaker, Kandi Wiley, shared her own experience with drunk driving and how it had a lasting impact on her life, which helped students put the staged accident in perspective.

Wiley’s story revolves around her daughter, Janakae Sargent, who was tragically killed by a drunk driver.

“While the fake scenario showed the possibility of drinking and driving, the live speaker shared an actual, real event,” teacher Amber Kennedy said. “Hearing from Mrs. Wiley allowed the students to understand the eternal effects of such a poor decision.”

Overall, the two day program was a success for DHS. It showed students the real-life consequences of drunk driving, and students and administrators alike were thankful for the experience.

“I am thankful that we had Shattered Dreams this year, if it saves one student’s life, it is worth it,” Shisler said.