Life-and-death lessons

Every 15 Minutes project gives GHS students eye-opening view of dangers of impaired driving

GRAFTON FIRE DEPARTMENT members extricated a student playing the part of a crash victim from a vehicle during the Every 15 Minutes event at Grafton High School. Photo by Sam Arendt

A STUDENT DRESSED as the Grim Reaper accompanied by others playing roles as the “living dead” stood outside Grafton High School on Thursday, Oct. 24, during a mock-crash demonstration. The event was part of an Every 15 Minutes program that promotes making smart decisions before getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

Students experienced a dramatic scene of wreckage, carnage and an appearance by the Grim Reaper outside Grafton High School during a mock-crash demonstration Thursday, Oct. 24.

“It was really eye opening for them. A lot of students told us afterwards that they are going to think about making good decisions the next time they step into a vehicle,” said science teacher Fran Grant, whose students in her HOSA-Health Professions Affinity Community club helped organize the event.

The crash scene, which is part of the Every 15 Minutes Program, was held during the school’s Red Ribbon Week, an alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and violence prevention awareness campaign observed annually in October.

Grant said Every 15 Minutes derives its name from statistics that show deadly crashes involving an impaired or distracted driver occurs every 15 minutes. Principal Scott Mantei said this was the first time an Every 15 Minutes presentation has been performed in Ozaukee County.

Before the event, a student dressed as the Grim Reaper and pulled students out of classrooms every 15 minutes, followed by a Grafton police officer reading the students’ obituaries prepared by their parents. The chosen students then met with makeup artists and returned to class as the “living dead.”

Later in the day, students visited the crash scene in the school parking lot and heard a 911 call over the school’s sound system. Grafton firefighters demonstrated extricating two students out of a vehicle and performed life-saving measures. 

A Flight for Life helicopter was scheduled to be at the event, but it was called to an actual accident 45 minutes before, Grant said. 

One student was declared dead at the scene and another was transported to the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton where the student also died. Video was streamed from the hospital for students to view. 

“The nurses and doctors treated it as a drill,” Grant said.

After the event, students were required to write reflections on the experience. Grant said she and her students read some powerful and moving statements about the experience.

“A lot of students were impacted by it in a way we wanted,” she said. “So many kids think it’s about drug and alcohol awareness, but it’s really about making good decisions.

“I think that’s really what Every 15 Minutes is promoting.”

The school also hosted a community presentation Tuesday, Oct. 29, including a panel discussion by professionals from the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Starting Point of Ozaukee addiction treatment center, Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department and students. 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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