Shattered Dreams Gives Students Reality Check


Taylor Watson, Editor in Chief

Students, parents, staff, community members, hospital staff, the police department, firefighters and even the local jail will come together on Thursday march 8th to produce the first Shattered Dreams event on our campus. Shattered Dreams is a program hosted by the sheriffs department, and is in place to shed light on teenage drinking and driving.

“You aren’t thinking about 5 years from now, you aren’t thinking about the consequences. They think its cool. They aren’t thinking about doing the right thing versus going to this party,” Derrick Taylor of the Travis County Sheriff Department’s,  who is planning Shattered Dreams alongside many volunteers,  said. “Parents are quick to get kids out of trouble so the kids aren’t really learning anything of the consequences.”

Juniors and seniors who are involved were selected from an application process, and were required to attend information and planning meetings with their parents. About 80 students will be involved on March 8th and 9th .

“I think it will be a really good way to allow the student body to see the effects of drinking and driving in the worst scenario,” senior Alyssa Muir said. “It’s kind of something that you have to be really devoted to and it’s not something that is lighthearted. I think that the emotional toll it will take on some of the students is going to be enough to affect them for life.”

 Officer Taylor has been planning Shattered Dreams for our school since last May. Through the sponsorships of Roger Beasley Volvo, Pure Castings, Untied Heritage Credit Union, Apple Sport Imports, PTSA and Brown Distributing he is able to create an extremely realistic program for students, parents, and community members to view.

“Every single thing is through donations; all the t-shirts, swag and gimmees and thank you’s. I can do it totally free,” Taylor said. “That’s not what I want to see. I want to put out a prime rib in front of you, versus a cheap chopped steak. It’s virtually free, but I don’t want to put on a free Shattered Dreams.”

Since last semester four meetings with participants and parents have taken place. Here, parents have learned about the program and why it is in place, heard firsthand stories, filled out medical information and even have written their child’s obituary.

“My mom and I have gone to all the required meetings,” senior Hannah Simpson said. “It seems like the program is going to be really intense. It was hard for my mom to write my obituary, but I know that the program is going to improve Vandegrift.

On March 8, a number of selected students will reenact a car accident caused by drinking and driving and the consequences that follow. One will go to jail, one will go to the funeral home, one to the morgue, one to the hospital and one will be starflighted in a helicopter to the hospital.

“I wanted to take part in Shattered Dreams so that I can live in the moment of a bad situation and see what would happen if the situation was real,” senior Ashlee Cloud said. “I am nervous to be a part of this organization but also excited to see how Vandegrift will react to such an intense act of fake reality.”

The students who are not in the accident firsthand will also participate in a major way. Every 15 minutes one student will be taken out of class by the Grim Reaper and placed in ghostly makeup to represent the living dead. This act symbolizes the statistic that every 15-18 minutes, one person dies from an alcohol related act.

“The only thing different in my program and in real life is you’re not actually dead. You’re not dead. That’s it,” Taylor said. “Even the parents have to write an obituary. I want to make it as realistic as possible to make you understand the emotions if this were to really happen.”

On the night of March 8th, students involved in the accident will attend an overnight retreat where they learn more about what has taken place and real life situations and prevention of this activity.

“The retreat as a whole has a big impact because of what goes on. The hospital has a huge impact because of what the parents and kids have to go through. Last year, one of my SWAT officers went to the school, he didn’t know but I had his daughter starflighted,” Taylor said. “Then I had her die in the hospital. Imagine this SWAT officer crying and screaming to his daughter.”

This event is predicted to be extremely emotional and impactful. Although only juniors and seniors will be participating directly, all students will view the accident. And on Friday March 9th the student body will attend an assembly honoring those who were in the accident the day before.

“I don’t know if Shattered Dreams really works; however I have had people talk back and forth,” Taylor said. “From a two-person perspective, I see that I have touched two lives. I know I did. I don’t do follow up, I don’t go out to the school. But I know it worked.”