Shattered Dreams. You may not be familiar with this name, but all juniors and seniors, at Stratford High School in Houston, TX are. There is a whole day set aside out of the school year for this one event, and my sister had the opportunity to be a part of it. Only 30 students out of the 1,700 students that go to the school are chosen through votes by their teachers, counselors, and principals. These students are those that are well known amongst their peers and from a variety of groups — theater, football, softball, Spartanaire drill team, track, and newspaper.
The school does this every two years, so that different juniors and seniors are able to participate each year. In years past the Cypress Fire and
There are two parts in Shattered Dreams. Part of the people are in the production part of the day. The other half are the ones that attend school as usual. Once the kids return to class, every 15 minutes over the loud speaker the whole school will hear the sound of a heartbeat then the heartbeat flat lining. The significance is: every 15 minutes a person dies due to someone driving drunk or someone who was texting and driving.
They use the stretchers and put the teens in the ambulance.
The police department takes the driver that was drinking and arrests them. The parents of the people in the accident are present and so are the parents of the driver. It is so real it is unbelievable. The parents are crying and it gets the students teared up as well.
My sister said that even she was despite being a part of the production. Another student at Stratford High School, Maddie Harbison, said, "For me, it felt really realistic because Jacqui (my sister, her best friend) was in it. It really made me realize what it would have been like if she was really gone. That was the hard part for me." I think that is how most of the students felt. That is what this program is about.
One person is always taken up in LifeFlight. They are strapped in and take them up, the LIfeFlight actually takes off and flies away. There are two people that "died" in the accident and Hurst come and pick them up. The two are placed in body bags and driven off.
It does not get more real than that. If you look very closely you will see the cars behind them — one is flipped and the other is missing its whole top. The car with the top off is the one that they used The Jaws of Life on.
If you look closely at the picture below you can see the girl on the front end of the car. She was the person they took up in life flight and the person in the driver's seat was one of the ones that was taken away in the Hurst. The girl on the front of the car was the one they took the top of the car off to rescue.
The Grim Reaper (pictured above on the right) represents death. At the scene, The Grim Reaper walks around, then get in the Hurst with one of the students in the body bags before they are driven off together. He then walks around the school all day and when someone is taken out of class to have the white face put on, he comes in the class and stands there.I sat and watched them take the top of the car off. Now I did not know the girls that were in the car personally but like my sister and Maddie they knew these people and seeing their friends in this position was very emotional for them. My sister is one of those people who cry when she's hurt or if someone is hurting her. So if she is getting emotional, it's something to think about.
When the student body returns to school the next morning the juniors and seniors have one more assembly. This assembly is supposed to represent the two teens that "died" at the scene. The studnets that were part of the production, stand at the front holding their "headstones" with their coffins and flowers. The parents of the children that "died" in the crash speak. They talk about how it affected their families, how it affected their other children, what they would have been doing if they were not in the crash, and how much they loved their children.
Above are the "headstones" the students hold and what they post in the lunch room for every student to see. Not many people know who is involved in Shattered Dreams until it happens. If you've been chosen for the event, only your family, and maybe your closest two or three friends, know besides the other people who are in the program,
It is never OK to drink and drive. Especially in high school. If you are going to drink have a DD or a safe ride home.
All photos were taken by Stratford High School students