Scheidler chooses Every Fifteen Minutes group
Activities director Kathryn Scheidler chose the final 28 students who will participate in this year’s Every 15 Minutes (E15M) on Apr. 19
To narrow down the group of 54, students had to write essays including reasons why they want to be in the program and who will be affected by their “death”.
“I was looking for a passion about doing whatever possible to stop people from drinking and driving,” Scheidler said.
Scheidler also had to choose the final group to represent the entire student body so everyone can relate to at least one student selected while they are at the assembly.
“That makes the experience more real for everyone,” Scheidler said.
Out of the 28 students, 22 will take roles as the “living dead” and six will participate in the car crash scene. The roles include one drunk driver, one critically injured passenger who will be taken to Mission Hospital, one hysterical passenger, two dead on the scene and one seriously injured.
“I’m most looking forward to the crash scene and the faces of the students watching,” junior Alex Durham, an E15M participant, said.
To prepare for E15M, the students participating will do team-building activities, write and take pictures for their obituaries, make their own tombstones and prepare mentally and emotionally.
“They don’t all know each other real well when we start, but they will be going through some pretty intense experiences together so it is very important for them to get to know each other and gain trust,” Scheidler said.
The purpose is to make students realizes how their classmates and teachers can just disappear.
“People need to realize that everyone is at risk of being critically injured or killed by a drunk driver at any time,” Scheidler said. “That includes your teacher.”
This faculty participant is kept a secret until the grim reaper takes them out of their classroom.
The students will go on an overnight retreat, and they are not allowed to contact family and friends from the moment they become “dead” until after the assembly the following day. The details of what will happen at the retreat are kept secret.
“It is life-changing for the participants and a pretty gut-wrenching experience,” Scheidler said.
One activity the participants and their parents will do separately the night of the retreat is write a letter to each other as if the student had just been killed by a drunk driver that day and are writing their last words.
Money and supplies will be donated by The City of Lake Forest. It closes down Toledo for free and donates $2,500 toward the expenses. The Sheriff’s Department will provide numerous officers for no cost. The CA Highway Patrol awarded the school a $9,999 grant for expenses and a committee, which is made up of parents, El Toro’s athletic trainer, former student participants and law enforcement officers, also helps with the event.
“I know that this will change my life forever by helping me make the right choices from now on,” junior Caitlyn Mendoza said. “Doing Every 15 Minutes is changing my life around.”