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Theater students showcase abilities during emotional drunk driving simulation

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This morning in the Coppell High School parking lot, CHS senior MaryKathryn Ferguson gets taken away on a gurney as a part of Shattered Dreams, which is a program designed to highlight the effect drinking and driving can have on everyone. CHS juniors and seniors observed the mock accident unfold in the CHS parking lot.

 

As a sobbing Ty Dalrymple draped himself over the body of his twin brother, Jack, the emotion in the crowd of juniors and seniors gathered in the Coppell High School parking lot was almost tangible.

 

“Seeing my brother like that was emotional,” Ty said. “A lot of people in Shattered Dreams are very experienced in acting. But a big part of it is that they make it so real. You don’t even have to try that hard.”

 

Shattered Dreams, a drunk-driving awareness program that takes place at CHS every two years, was orchestrated in the parking lot on Thursday morning. Juniors and seniors assembled in the arena at around 10 a.m. to watch a video directed and produced by members of CHS’s television station, KCBY.

 

The video featured 13 CHS students getting into a fatal car accident after a night of drinking and partying. Police motorcycles entered the arena with their sirens blaring and lights flashing; students were then escorted outside where they witnessed a mock car accident scene with student actors playing the crash victims.

 

“Every time [I have the same emotional reaction], I don’t care what the scenario,” said Sean Bagley, CHS assistant principal and Shattered Dreams organizer. “I’ve seen the video 12 times already, and when I come out here, it’s the same thing. It’s just that emotional piece that knows that there are kids involved, injuries involved, loss of life and it’s people that we deal with every day.”

 

Bagley and others agree the most emotional part of the day was the storyline between the twins, Jack and Ty. During the simulated accident, one of them lived and the other was killed.

 

“I’ve known them since they were seventh and eighth graders and they’re seniors now,” Bagley said. “One because I’ve had the relationship with them and two because the emotion. They are truly very gifted in their ability to act. It’s that brotherly, that twin thing, going on.”

 

The simulation included real emergency response teams who arrived on the scene to transport the injured to Las Colinas Medical Center, where the yet to be released Part II of KCBY’s video was filmed.

 

The experience is just as emotional for those who work on the crew of the video and simulation.

 

Co-director senior Nicolette Boaz, who was emotional after the crash simulation ended, said the experience of working on the project moved her in particular.  

 

“My cousin died in a car crash two weeks ago,” she said. “So that was why I was so distraught, it just made it real. I think anyone who has a connection to someone who has died, in a car crash or not, this really hit home for them.”

 

After shadowing KCBY seniors during her sophomore year, Boaz began working on the Shattered Dreams storyline in June 2016, at the end of her junior year. The project took the three directors a total of nine months to complete.

 

“Picking the [actors] was the hardest,” Boaz said. “We came up with a scenario first and we knew we wanted Ty and Jack because one of them dying would be emotional. So we kind of worked our way around them.”

 

The acting at the scene of the crash was raw and shocking, making some observing students emotional to the point of having to return home for the day.

 

Even CHS Principal Mike Jasso teared up addressing the assembly of students after the simulation’s completion.

 

“I’m sick of going to funerals or visiting hospitals because of poor decision-making,” Jasso said.

 

In an attempt to symbolize the fact that drunk-driving related deaths occur every 15 minutes, unsuspecting students were pulled out of class throughout the day by Calculus teacher Kirk Richardson, dressed as the “grim reaper”.

 

“I was shocked, I had no idea it was coming,” said junior Taylor Leathers, who was pulled out of her fifth period class. “I wasn’t really processing what was happening. Hearing my obituary read was heartbreaking. I looked over and saw my mom and she was crying.”

 

At the end of the day, Bagley’s hope is that Shattered Dreams changed at least one mind.

 

“My goal is that if someone has to make a choice or decision, this just goes through their mind for one second,” he said. “If we’ve done that, then this whole program has impacted that child. Whether they make the right decision or not, we put a seed in their mind.”

 

Part II of the Shattered Dreams video will air in two to three weeks, as filming is still underway. To watch Part I, visit https://vimeo.com/213002723.

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Theater students showcase abilities during emotional drunk driving simulation