The student news site of Claremont High School

The Wolfpacket

The student news site of Claremont High School

The Wolfpacket

The student news site of Claremont High School

The Wolfpacket

Every Fifteen Minutes

Every+Fifteen+Minutes
LACoFD

Sirens blaring, red lights flashing, and ambulances driving off with gurneys of unidentified people. Soon, parents and guardians receive the call of their nightmares: their child has been involved in a driving accident and did not make it.
Drinking and driving is a prevalent issue in society, and substance abuse and resulting accidents are considered more of a norm than ever. It is a problem that hides under layers of music and movies that normalize the idea of minors drinking and partying. A simple party can be looked at as a time to expand social horizons and forget about homework rather than something that can quickly escalate and be the reason a life is lost and a future is broken.
In hopes of spreading awareness around this teenage tendency, an educational program called “Every Fifteen Minutes” was created. Named after the harrowing statistic that a teenager dies in a drunk driving accident every fifteen minutes, the program has been implemented in schools like Claremont for over a decade. So it should not be surprising that when the program was postponed until the 2024-2025 school year, students, parents, and teachers alike immediately spoke out.
For years, the program has enabled juniors and seniors of Claremont High School to be involved in the realistic effects of drinking and driving and composed their experiences into an emotional film made by the Advanced Video Production class. Students witness the aftermath of a collision, experience the emotions of those involved, and remember this program as a lesson as they embark into the real world and are faced with the extreme challenges of peer pressure, alcohol, and drugs. Multiple students participate directly in creating the example of the repercussions of impaired driving, while others watch as the scene plays out on Indian Hill.
In fourth period, early November of this year, Advanced Video Production students were called to attention by their teacher, Sara Hills. The students of AVP were all looking forward to a year of creativity, spanning from Directing Change to Every Fifteen Minutes, also known as EFM. In particular, juniors and seniors were exhilarated to work on EFM, starting from the script and directing to the final cut. Everyone anxiously wondered why the atmosphere had suddenly shifted and tensed. As the news that the program had been canceled was told, the class stayed silent — in shock. After the news, the students felt a domino effect of other emotions: frustration, confusion, and lastly, determination. The sophomores, juniors, and seniors agreed that EFM was important; too important to stop. Eli Myers, a senior student in AVP found this especially important.
“Everyone was really disappointed and I especially, I was really angry,” Myers said. “As soon as I heard that there was a slight chance to change it, I told everyone I knew to send emails to Dr. Mitchell and I tried to spread the word as much as I could. It was really important to a lot of people and we were really sad and disappointed and frustrated.”
“Every Fifteen Minutes informs students in a very real way about the dangers of impaired driving,” Hills said. “”The hope is after experiencing EFM all students understand the consequences of impaired driving, the EFM participants share the experience with their peers, and moving forward our community will make safer choices while on the road.”
What concerned Hills and the rest of the AVP class was not simply that the program would be postponed. It was the question of whether the Claremont High Site Leadership Team thought it was worth fighting for and what would happen next year? Would it be delayed year after year until finally being scrapped for good?
Inspired to use their voices for good, the students came out of class spreading the tragic news, emailing Dr. Mitchell, and starting an online petition. The petition was started by sophomore Maxima McCormack, who is in Advanced Video Production.
“I had felt really stuck, as I didn’t know how I could get EFM to be saved,” McCormack said. “Although I’m a sophomore and this is my first year of EFM I knew it was really important and shouldn’t be thrown out. The next day I was in math class when I kind of just acted and made the petition. Then I shared it with basically everyone I know and started printing out little QR codes to put in the bathrooms or in the classrooms. And it kind of went from there.”
Within two hours, the petition had 100 signatures, and over the course of the week, alumni, students, and parents signed it while others emailed Dr. Mitchell for him to keep EFM. After 1,019 signatures and many emails directed to Dr. Mitchell, AVP students held their breath as Ms. Hills sighed — this time hopeful instead of dejected. The CHS leadership team had decided to reevaluate the true importance of EFM and would vote on the matter again.
Later that week, on November 17th, 2023, AVP got a Remind message from Ms. Hills telling the news that the CHS leadership team had a meeting and officially announced that Every Fifteen Minutes was going to be held this 2023-2024 school year.
Sirens blaring, red lights flashing, and ambulances driving off with gurneys of unidentified persons. These moments are not just the traumatic scenes of cop shows; they are tragic accidents that occur in cities and towns big and small. Substance abuse and impaired driving are everywhere, even in a picture-perfect college town like Claremont. The hope is that Every Fifteen Minutes will spread awareness, so Claremont can be a town with sirens and ambulance commotion coming more from television sets instead of the streets.

Donate to The Wolfpacket
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Hello there! Our goal is to provide relavent, engaging journalism for readers of all ages. Your donation will support the student journalists of the Wolfpacket at Claremont High School, and will allow us to purchase equipment, print our monthly issues, and enter in journalism competitions. We appreciate your consideration!

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Maxima McCormack, Contributing Reporter
Maxima McCormack is a sophomore at CHS and a first year contributing reporter on The Wolfpacket staff. Although she acts like a very put together person with the multitude of activities she participates in from being an officer of French club to a part of the JV Basketball team, McCormack finds herself lying on the carpet of her messy room in the little free time she has. Her two five-year-old schnoodles Woody and Buzz are the loves of her life and she finds joy in bossing them around just like her seven older siblings do to her. When she isn’t stressing about school or playing sports, Maxima is spending time with her family and friends or listening to and playing music (from Taylor Swift to Bach) as she tampers in the guitar and ukulele and is an ex-classical piano player. Maxima misses the good old days of elementary school when she read Rick Riordan and had no worries, so she is looking forward to living in a fantasy world through her words and contributing to The Wolfpacket.
Caroline Warren, Reporter
Caroline Warren is an involved sophomore at CHS this year. She is a first-year reporter trying to keep up the Wolfpacket family legacy, with both her brothers having been in the class. Her favorite subject has always been math because she loves the notion of there always being a right answer. Warren’s main goal is to just get through the year smoothly while passing her classes and balancing her extracurriculars. She is an active member of CHS’s Speech and Debate program, plays basketball, volunteers with Interact, and volunteers with CLASP as well. Warren has a strong and unusual obsession with the font Georgia and she believes that any other font is disgusting. She also can talk about food opinions for hours and is excited to write about it.
Donate to The Wolfpacket
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal