Fortuna High School Students Meet Grim Reaper for a Good Cause
The selected students became the “Walking Dead” and reappeared with the Grim Reaper, at the lunchtime student assembly in the 14th Street parking lot. In the lot, a simulated traffic accident scene had been set up. The accident scene this year had a “prom” theme as the Fortuna High prom is this weekend. All student players were in full prom attire and moulage style makeup.
Police, fire and ambulance responded to the accident scene, extricating students and transporting injured parties to the hospital. One student was immediately pronounced dead and later transported to the Coroner’s office to await a parental viewing. Another student was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital, where his parents were later called to remove life support.
“The hardest thing was being told your son had died in an accident; saying your goodbye at the hospital, leaving the hospital, getting in my truck and thinking, now what? Life goes on as usual?” said Sandra Macias, parent of one of the involved students. “Every 15 minutes in real life, a parent does not get to go home, knowing that this is fake. They go home and know their life has changed for the rest of their lives.”
Police on hand also performed Field Sobriety Tests on the suspect driver, later arresting and transporting the driver to the Humboldt County Jail. The remaining “Walking Dead” students, walked around the scene, observing quietly. All involved students are then sequestered away for the night, with both parents and students asked to write “good bye” letters to one another.
The conclusion of the program happens today, with a special assembly held at the Fortuna High School Damon Gym. Attendees will listen to special guest speakers and some of the “good bye” letters written by both the involved students and parents. Chaplains and counselors will be on scene to assist and support Fortuna High and community members.
The Every 15 Minutes Program began in 1995 at a school in Chico. Since then, schools across the nation have embraced the program, hoping to show students the impact of their decisions and related loss, to their family and friends. For more information on the program, please see http://friendlyfortuna.com/Every15Minutes.