One by one, students were plucked from their classrooms - chosen by the Grim Reaper to join the “Living Dead.”
The students’ obituaries were read aloud. Their classmates looked on as they climbed onto a gurney and were zipped into a black body bag.
Senior Megan Tallo was among the 25 Lone Star High School students selected to participate in the demonstration as part of Shattered Dreams, a two-day program designed to raise awareness about the dangers of underage drinking and driving.
Megan’s parents wrote of her love for gymnastics, dance and alligators in a mock obituary.
“I almost started crying,” she said after hearing the obituary.
Junior Neeti Butala helped push the student “victims” through the halls, en route to having their faces painted white to represent their status as a member of the “Living Dead.”
“It’s scary thinking if this really happened,” she said.
That is the goal of Shattered Dreams – to help students, parents and the community realize the potential consequences of drinking and driving.
Statistics show three-fourths of students consume alcohol by the end of high school. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States.
“We’re asking students to stop, pause and think twice about their actions,” said Ofc. Joshua Storm, school resource officer at Lone Star High School. “Just 15 minutes of fun can have a lifetime of consequences.”
The Frisco Police and Fire Departments present Shattered Dreams each year at a different Frisco ISD high school in advance of student celebrations such as prom and graduation.
It’s a massive undertaking that requires months of planning. Students write essays in hopes of being selected to participate.
Members of the “Living Dead” are pulled from class every 15 minutes to represent how often someone is killed in the United States in an alcohol-related accident.
Juniors and seniors at Lone Star watched a student-produced video featuring a mock party scene, filmed at the home of parent volunteers Frank and Noelle Foti. Then they filtered outside for an elaborate dramatization of an alcohol-related accident staged in front of the school.
While students watched, police, fire, and other emergency personnel responded to the scene. The “victim" students were transported by ambulance and CareFlite to Centennial Medical Center, while the “deceased” student was transported by Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home. The “drunk driver” was arrested and transported to the Frisco City Jail for book-in and arraignment.
“We want it to feel real,” Storm said. “If we can impact one student who is at-risk, then it is all worth it.”
At the end of the school day, the “Living Dead,” crash victims and drunk driver were taken on an overnight retreat to enhance the learning experience. A mock memorial service was held the following day at school in their memory.
Students were involved in numerous aspects of the Shattered Dreams presentation, including acting and doing make-up for the accident scene, producing the party scene video and performing music at the mock memorial, among other things.
“It is the beginning of the end for seniors who are wrapping up their high school experience,” said Principal Karen Kraft. “As they get excited about their future, we all want to ensure they have one.”
- The Frisco Police Department, Frisco Fire Department and Frisco ISD would like to thank the following organizations for helping make this year’s Shattered Dreams presentation a great success:
- Centennial Medical Center
LW’s Towing Service
Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
It’s a Grind Coffee