The program is designed to teach high school students the repercussions of their choices while driving. Crowley’s take on the Lafayette Parish production goes one step further showing all the consequences possible.
The video, which has been shown at three of the parish high schools already has been known to move people to silence and make them emotional.
Tuesday was no different, and as Maxine Trahan of the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office explained, it has had an effect on her as well.
“It was an emotional program for me and the most rewarding,” said Trahan. “In this program, these 60 students at Rayne High, it really hit home for them.”
For Acadia Parish’s produced DVD, the video shows authorities work an accident scene, a student die on the scene and another at the hospital. It took those viewing to the gravesite and his parents grieving. They also show the driver go through the judicial process.
According to Trahan, it was important to the parish for the student not to just see the accident but the consequences from the accident as well.
“Lafayette only stages an accident, for them it ends there,” she said. “I felt that they (the students) needed to see the repercussions; the mourning of a family ... the repercussions for the student that was the drunk driver.
The first day of filming was almost perfect actually for the group as weather forced the schools to close the day of shooting, which allowed more of the community to view the accident and the students had an opportunity to view the filmed court proceedings.
“(With no school) the students were able to follow the whole thing,” she said.
The DVD also features two guest speakers from the second day, ULL Baseball Coach Tony Robichaux and Eric Searcy, moving speeches that again left the Rotarians silenced.
The sheriff’s office has been selling the DVD as a way to not only get the word out but to help the continual funding of the program. The video will also be shown as part of all area driver’s education courses said to Trahan.
The remarkable success of the first year’s project, which was planned in six weeks time, has the parish already planning for next year.
This time around, however, Trahan says they hope to begin planning this summer ensuring that the production will be completed before prom season so that all of the schools can view it.
Participants from Rayne High also felt an immediate impact, according to Trahan, and she believes and hopes that the annual program can really touch more students in the parish.
As a demonstration of the impact on Rayne High students, Trahan says the students attending prom this year took it upon themselves to sign contracts that were also hung as a reminder at the prom to not drink and drive.
For now, the sheriff’s office plans to move the program to a different school each year which will be chosen through an application process. But for a school to host they have to truly be 100 percent on board like Rayne High was this year.
The Rotary Club of Crowley decided to also contribute to the cause and donated $500 to next year’s project.