SPHS students hope video helps curtail drunk driving

HOOVER – Spain Park High School students will produce a video about the dangers of drunk driving they hope will help their classmates avoid tragedy.

SPHS senior Kathryn King brought the idea to school officials after seeing other schools produce similar videos.

The topic is especially important to King, who lost an 18-year-old cousin in an alcohol-related wreck about 10 years ago.

“I wanted to be able to share something this impactful with other students to hopefully keep them from making this mistake,” King said.

Production of the video will occur on Oct. 4, and the video will be shown on Oct. 12, the day before the school’s homecoming football game.

“Maybe people having that on their mind will persuade more of them not to take part in something like that,” King said.

On Oct. 12, a premiere showing will be held at 8 a.m. with breakfast provided.

Representatives from the local police department, fire department, Grandview Medical Center and other organizations that helped with the effort will be invited to the premiere showing.

The video will be shown to Spain Park seniors in the school theater, and in the classrooms of underclassmen.

The premise is based on the “Every 15 Minutes Program,” which is so titled because a person dies from an alcohol-related collision every 15 minutes.

“Life’s lessons are best learned through experience,” reads information at EveryFifteenMinutes.org. “Unfortunately, when the target audience is teens and the topic is drinking and texting while driving, experience is not the teacher of choice.

“The Every 15 Minutes Program offers real-life experience without the real-life risks. This emotionally charged program, entitled Every 15 Minutes, is an event designed to dramatically instill teenagers with the potentially dangerous consequences of drinking alcohol and texting while driving. This powerful program will challenge students to think about drinking, texting while driving, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved.”

King has remained involved with planning the effort and raising funds. About $2,000 will be needed to cover the cost of the videographer and other expenses.

In the video, eight students will be injured in a wreck, with two dying from their injuries, another being hospitalized and a drunk driver being jailed.

A mock wreck will be presented at the Spain Park Sports Complex adjacent to the school, and students will be transported to the scene.

Because of his leadership, senior Brady Harp was tapped as the student wanted to play the role of the drunk driver who is arrested in the video.

“I jumped at that because I know drunk driving affects not only the people who drove the car but everyone else involved,” Harp said.

The dramatization will be emotionally charged, as parents will be filmed reacting to their children being injured and killed.

“It makes it more real,” Harp said. “It could be someone in your class just the day before and now all of a sudden they’re gone.”

The video will also be uploaded to YouTube and promoted so that it reaches as many people as possible, said Assistant Principal Josh Britnell said, who is helping students with the project.

“Everybody has been affected by this,” Britnell said.