Editor’s Note: The Every 15 Minutes presentation was made at Burbank High School last week which is intended for high school students to see the dangers of drinking and driving – especially at prom time. We asked Janae McGee, an Editor at the Burbank Bulldog, to cover the event for us. myBurbank Photographer, Edward Tovmassian, who is also a Burbank High Senior, shot pictures along with myBurbank’s Chief Photographer, Ross A. Benson. Benson has covered many of these real life tragic events over the years.
By Janae McGee
Special to myBurbank
Later part of last week, Burbank High School had been participating in the Every 15 Minutes Program, which seeks to add awareness to and help to prevent underage drunk driving.
To begin the program, an announcement was made every 15 minutes that announced the fake death of a student. The students that had died ranged from football star James Williams to next year’s ASB President Dani Ryan. All of the students “deaths” were caused by drunk driving.
The program was then in two parts. The first part on Wednesday closed down Third Street and reenacted a car crash with Burbank High students. Senior Kyle Alvarez was “drunk” and caused the crash, which ended up “killing” two students, injuring two more, and injuring a teacher on his bicycle as well.
Principal Michael Bertram stoically watched the scene. “As sobering as it was, it went off fantastic,” Bertram said while wiping a tear. “I really hope the message that was sent really resonates with kids. It’s hard as an adult to reach kids and to get them to understand.”
The second part of the 15 minutes program was an assembly for juniors and seniors. All of the students that had been announced dead sat on the stage while a movie showed an in-depth look and the car crash from the day before.
Parents came and talked about a car crash that had killed two of their sons. Students that had written obituaries and letters to their parents read them aloud and it was a silent and emotionally charged event.
Alvarez, who was the person that was drinking in the simulated car crash, is known at school at school as a partier. The 15 minutes program greatly affected him. “I was life changing,” Alvarez said, “I will never drink and drive and I will never get in a car with someone who has been drinking.”
The Burbank Bulldog