ROXBURY, NJ - It begins with a long period of nothing but blackness as students say their names. Then the Roxbury High School Gaelvision video documenting Wednesday's "Every 15 Minutes" production aims straight for the heart.
A scene of a blue tarp being yanked off two vehicles involved in a car crash bursts onto the screen. There is broken glass, crumpled metal, a bloody young man protruding through the shattered windshield. Beer cans are rolling away from the wreck as young people scream.
Then come the sirens.
To view the video click here.
"Every 15 Minutes" is a program conducted at high schools that is designed to demonstrate for students the impact of intoxicated driving. The name refers to impaired driving statistics which reportedly show a death takes place every 15 minutes.
During Wednesday's day-long exercise the "Grim Reaper" appeared throughout the school, removing students who were chosen earlier. A student was taken every 15 minutes and a police officer came into the classroom to read the student's obituary, written by the killed student's parent.
Afterward the the dead students returned to class "as the "living dead," complete with white face make-up, a coroner's tag, and a black Every 15 Minutes T-shirt," says the Every 15 Minutes the website. "From that point on "victims" are not allowed to speak or interact with other students for the remainder of the school day.
The simulated car crash, which opened the Gaelvision video, involved participation by paramedics, Roxbury police, fire and first-aid personnel, including a medical helicopter and a coroner. The realism continued into the night, as students who participated were placed in a hotel overnight to "simulate the separation" from friends and family.
"Being part of the production team of the "Every 15 Minutes" program is a life-changing opportunity," said Roxbury High School media studies teacher Deborah Burleigh in an email interview. "I could not be more proud of my students for their level of professionalism, flexibility, superior communication skills and dedication to provide such a high quality production."
Burleigh said the video filming was finished at about 10:45 p.m. Then the students had to edit the video so it could be ready by the 6 a.m. student assembly.
"It was a enormous undertaking with months of planning, but we were able to pull it off with an amazing group of students and lots of snacks, laughs and hardwork," Burleigh said.
She thanked Roxbury Police Officer Brian Feeney for helping with the production. Burleigh also thanked Roxbury High School Principal Jeffrey Swanson for his support.
"It's a community that works together to ensure the safety of our children and Roxbury puts forth endless efforts to protect our youth," said the teacher. "We hope people learn from this experience. I know each time we participate it certainly is a day my students will never forget."