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Sparta High School Every 15 Minutes Program

John P. Beebe

Friday, May 24, 2013 • 10:28am

​On Monday, May 20, 2013, the Junior and Senior Class of Sparta High School were witness to just how real it can be to lose everything. Sparta High School took part in the Every 15 Minutes program, which focuses on the dangers of drinking and driving. Coordinated by Saint Clare’s Hospital Paramedics John Cronin and Dean Snook, Sparta Police Departments’ Corporal Susan Parkes, and Sparta High School Student Assistance Coordinator Kasey Konwiser, families are brought as close to their worse nightmare as possible, without actually having to go through it.

During this 2-day program, 30 pre-selected students are taken out of class every 15 minutes to signify another statistical “death” due to an alcohol related accident. Obituaries, written by their parents, are read to their peers, and the now deceased student must live amongst their peers in silence, signifying the “living dead”.  All Juniors and Seniors are then an audience for a simulated crash, where emergency services respond to those student actors who appear injured.  The victims are brought to local hospitals and trauma centers, where ER staff simulates treatment, and Doctors discuss patient conditions with their parents. An “intoxicated driver” is taken into custody by Sparta Police, and processed as if in real life. The accused then stands in front of a Judge in a simulated trial, and sentenced according to how the law would be. A memorial service is held on the second day, where parents and students are reunited, reflects on what the prior days events, and gives parents and students the opportunity to say things left unsaid.
With the upcoming Prom season, Graduation, and eventual college life, the importance of safe and smart decisions is stressed over the course of 24 hours, and students are shown what the effects are of just one bad decision.
Departments participating include: Sparta Police Department, Sparta Fire Department, Sparta Ambulance Squad, Saint Clare’s Hospital EMS, Blessings Towing, Gobles Funeral Home, Saint Clare’s Hospital- Dover General, Morristown Medical Center, Homers Restaurant, Villa Capri, Pizza Bistro, and Sparta Dairy.
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