It’s almost that time of year. The time when the school watches old, slightly cheesy documentaries about teens who have driven under the influence, have friends and classmates “die,” and altogether share a good cry and learn a valuable life lesson: don’t drive under the influence.
Sadly, though, Every 15 Minutes will not be happening this year, because there is not enough time for planning, and no adviser who has the time to plan it.
Usually held at Foothill every other year, Every 15 Minutes aims to teach students the negative effects of driving under the influence, something that can’t usually be felt unless you have actually experienced a loss because of this.
The fact that Foothill will not be holding Every 15 Minutes means that this lesson will not be seared into the minds of students like in years prior. Yes, there is always health class for the freshmen, but anyone can tell you facts about driving under the influence. You can know every fact there is, but it is difficult to take those facts to heart unless you have been affected by them.
Without this program, we are simply giving students facts that they probably won’t remember a month from now versus an experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
It is well understood that the planning for Every 15 Minutes is time consuming. The blame should not be put onto ASB for two main reasons. The first being that ASB has never been in charge of planning the event in the past and Every 15 Minutes. The second being that it would be unreasonable to demand ASB to add another project on top of all of the events that ASB plans and takes charge of for our school.
Students, however, still hold the right to be disappointed. Every 15 Minutes has been a huge event at Foothill since 2008, and the feeling of a rug being pulled out from under our feet is also understandable, if not expected.
It is also understood that Every 15 Minutes can be emotionally draining, especially after the death of former Foothill teacher Chris Prewitt, and even more recently of Ventura County sheriff’s deputy Eugene Kostiuchenko, who was hit by an individual driving under the influence on Oct. 28, 2014.
On the contrary, the Foothill Dragon Press believes that the timing could not be better. Students and teachers will only find this event even more relatable, and Every 15 Minutes can bring home the fact that drunk driving can not only impact the individual, but also the community.
The fact of the matter is, we need Every 15 Minutes.
For every student that remembers what they felt when their friend “died,” isn’t there one less potential drunk driver? It would decrease the chances of them getting behind the wheel while intoxicated, or letting anyone else drive while drunk. That number may not be impressive for some, but there are plenty of people reading this who know that one less person makes all the difference. One less life ruined, one less life lost.
In the comments of the news article “‘Every 15 Minutes’ Cancelled Due to Lack of Time for Preparation,” Melanie “Captain” Lindsey commented that it is time for students to step up and organize this ourselves. In this situation, the Foothill Dragon Press could not agree more. In fact, Every 15 Minutes was originally run by students and staff when it started in 2008, with the help of ASB, until 2010 and 2012 when previous ASB advisor Darcy Duffy took charge of it.
Foothill, we need to act. We need to bring back an important experience that not only we, but future generations will miss out on. We need to remember that for every person who has lost someone, whether in a simulation or real life, that there will be one less drunk driver, because it can be guaranteed that if you know what it’s like to lose someone so unexpectedly, you would not want to inflict this pain onto anyone else.
Students and teachers must take charge if we want to continue Every 15 Minutes. We cannot simply place it on ASB, and expect them to do any and every event we ask them, regardless of the other countless requests they are already handling. We need to go back to when Every 15 Minutes was run by the students. While it is too late to hold it this year, there is still hope that Foothill can bring Every 15 Minutes back next year.
We cannot let the last Every 15 Minutes be in 2012. There are multitudes of students who more than likely do not know the full scale of what could happen when driving under the influence. As much as we would like to think that a semester of health will do the trick in getting this message across, the reality is that it doesn’t.
Since Every 15 Minutes began, there has never been a Foothill student implicated for driving under the influence. This program has clearly made an impact on those who have experienced the simulation.
We will not learn by just reading facts about how many people die every year because of drunk driving, and we will not learn through watching a video or two. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I learn.” Not just students, but our community needs to learn this lesson that is often underrated. Every 15 Minutes not only shows students, but also their families and teachers, how horrible it is to lose a loved one.
The Foothill Dragon Press believes that in order to not let Every 15 Minutes fade away, students need to take charge in order to preserve an important Foothill tradition. Students must be able to stand up and take action in order to make things happen, rather than giving every responsibility to ASB and complaining when something doesn’t happen. The only way Every 15 Minutes can continue at Foothill is if the students and staff organize themselves and make what they want to have happen become a reality, not just a suggestion.
Background Photo Illustration Credit: Aysen Tan and Kazu Koba/The Foothill Dragon Press