Silver Stage students to face DUI realities |

Silver Stage students to face DUI realities

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
Submitted by Central Lyon Youth Connections A scene from a mock drunken-driving accident staged Thursday at Dayton High School. The mock accident is part of a program called "Every 15 Minutes" to help teens learn the dangers of drinking and driving.

Silver Stage High School students are next in line to find out what it feels like to die because of drunken driving.

Students in Virginia City and Dayton have already met the Grim Reaper. A virtual Grim Reaper, that is.

Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties and Central Lyon Youth Connections are sponsoring a program called “Every 15 Minutes,” named after their contention that every 15 minutes someone dies as a result of drunk driving.

The program is conducted in high schools across the nation, and Central Lyon Youth Connections staff member Lavurne Jeffreys said it had a powerful impact on Dayton students Thursday.

“It was awesome,” she said. “There was not a dry eye in the assembly.”

According to the event’s Web site, a student is pulled from class every 15 minutes to signify a person killed by a drunk driver. A police officer then enters the classroom to read an obituary that was written by the “dead” student’s parents, which tells of the circumstances of death and the teen’s contributions to the community.

After that, the student returns to the class as “living dead” with white makeup, a coroner’s tag and a black “Every 15 Minutes” T-shirt. The student cannot speak or interact with students for the remainder of the day.

While that is going on, officers make mock death notifications to parents of these children at their home or job.

Other activities include a simulated traffic collision on school grounds where rescue workers treat injured student participants, with a coroner handling “fatalities” at the scene and some injured students being extricated from smashed vehicles by firefighters and paramedics.

Deputies arrest and book the student “drunk driver.”

Students are then taken through an audio-visualization of their own death, then they must write a letter to their parents starting with, “Dear Mom and Dad, every 15 minutes someone in the United States dies from an alcohol related traffic collision, and today I died. I never had the chance to tell you …”

Silver Stage’s project will begin at 1 p.m. today. Virginia City High School held the event May 4. Fernley and Yerington will be the sites next week for the “Every 15 Minutes” program.

Jeffreys said to show that it can happen to anyone, students were picked from every possible school group, academic clubs, athletics, goths and by ethnicity, to participate.

“We’ve been working on it for a year,” she said. “But since March, everyone got involved. We’ve had tremendous cooperation with principals, fire departments and everyone.”

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.

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