Shattered Dreams warns of dangers of drinking and driving

Jordyn Smith is loaded into a helicopter for transport during the Shattered Dream program at Thorndale High School on Jan. 24. Students participated in a mock accident scene and then listened to speaker Sean Carter who spoke about life with a traumatic brain injury. The program was put on by the school and area first responders to bring awareness to the dangers of drinking and driving and texting while driving.







By Jeni Anders, Thorndale ISD

On the evening of Jan. 23, 2019, the Thorndale High School Shattered Dreams participating students gathered at Thorndale City Park to have a mock pasture party, then went to McLane’s Children’s Hospital in Texas for a presentation and watch a mock trauma scene with their fellow school mates.  The parents of the students meet at the Fireman’s hall to take part in alcohol and drug related activities brought to Thorndale by Baylor Scott & White Hill Crest Medical RED program, Dan Worley and Tasha Whitaker.  Participating Students and parents concluded the evening with letters, they wrote to each other. The letters explain how they would feel if they were gone tomorrow if they were killed in a drinking and driving accident. 

As the school day started on Jan. 24, 2019, a student was removed out of the classroom every 15 minutes by the grim reaper (Corbin Preusse). Living Dead students represented that an innocent life is lost every 15 minutes in the United States due to a drunk driver. The students chosen by the grim reaper were taken to get their face painted and then returned to class and did not talk or interact in any way with the rest of the student body for the remainder of the day.  The living dead students were: Allison Albert, Ariana Anders, Bryce Huber, Collin Taylor, Elise Biar, Ethan Booker, Jayci Martinka, Leslie Pavlasek, Madison Kelm, Mason Kuhl, Riley White, Shannon Hadd, Mattie Fisher, Stephen Donnellon, and Victoria Elliott. 

At 1:05 p.m., The Thorndale High School students and Middle School eighth grade students walked to the city park parking lot from the school classrooms where a horrific accident scene awaited them. The program, Shattered Dreams, staged mangled cars, ten bloody students and a coach (John Kovar) who came to help at the scene last minute and was pinned between the cars to represent a drunk-driving accident. 

At the accident scene, Senior Scott Guzman was playing the unremorseful drunk driver crying as the blaring sirens of emergency medical personnel rushed to the scene. Students were able to witness how a drunk driver would be treated by the authorities from a sobriety test to the actual arrest. Guzman was apprehended in front of his class peers and was taken away in the police car.  

As the grim reaper (David Hall) paces the crash scene, students heard Nick Gerren make the 911 call over the speaker system before the emergency teams start to arrive. The students sat on risers beside the road to watch the accident scene unfold. The other students who were injured and transported in the Thorndale Volunteer EMS and American Medical Response vehicles were Corey Brooks, Dakota Alvarez, Summer Wycough and Tylin Morstatter.  

 Life Flight PHI Air Medical, Inc., landed to transport Senior Jordyn Smith, who was in one of the mangled cars with her bloody head resting on arm hanging out the window beneath a cracked windshield, which later died at the hospital. Jordyn’s mom, Kimberly Cauble arrived to the hospital to be with her daughter as she took her last breath. Jordyn’s good friend, Landri Leschber was seriously injured and was also taken to the hospital where her “aunt” Lisa vonGonten was there to console her as received medical attention then released days later. The scene ended with a most disturbing image that would be engrained in the minds of the students. Will Terry, the well-liked student who had been t-boned on his side of the car was pronounced dead by Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Judge Gary Northcott and then placed into the Providence Funeral Home white hearse to be taken away. Before the hearse took Will away his dad Seth and Pastor Billy Bob Cox from San Gabriel Christian Church arrived to the scene to identify the student’s body. No parent should have to do this.

After the accident scene concluded, the students walked to the Thorndale Fireman’s hall to attend the assembly that opened up with our dead student Will Terry and his dad Seth reading their letters “How they would feel if they were gone tomorrow” Then Jenny Carter shared her son Sean Carter’s story about getting in a car with a drunk driver. She showed videos and pictures of what they went through and continue to go through to take care of Sean since his accident in 2005. Sean and his mother travel the country to raise awareness about impaired driving.  Sean is not able to speak and walks with a walker, so he communicates with his I-Pad. We listened to our drunk driver Scott Guzman and his mom Stephanie read their letters and share what this experience meant to them. Many of our teens have received the Rodney Schneider memorial scholarship and Jerry Biar wanted to share Rodney’s story. Then Judge Gary Northcott spoke of his many experiences of the different fatalities he has had to see over the years. Adam Ivy, Superintendent concluded our assembly by expressing how important the Shattered Dreams program is and how important our students are to Thorndale ISD staff and community.

Several community partners volunteered their resources and time to make the Shattered Dreams program a success. Thank you to Thorndale Police Dept., Thorndale Volunteer Fire Department, City of Thorndale, Thorndale Volunteer EMS, American Medical Response, PHI Air Medical Helicopter Service Inc., Milam County Sherriff’s Dept., Department of Public Safety Dept. Rebecca Gerren and her crew- Allyson Rodriguez, Allison Albert, Ashton Kiesling, Johnathan Young-Rockdale Volunteer Fire Dept. for the living dead and crash scene make up. Pounder’s and Randy’s Wreckers Service for the crash scene vehicles. Milam County Justice of the Peace Judge Gary Northcott from Precinct 4, Deby Leschber – Sound, Lindsay Franklin, Hudson Evans, Tyler Huf, Kellen Hubnik, Mastin Hawkins and Scott Widner- Camera Crew, Thorndale Maintenance Dept., Rockdale Signs & Photography,  Eric Melde- Melde Electric, Robert Kirkpatrick-Cameron Health Dept. Deana Caffey – Living Dead Crosses, Providence Funeral Home, Thorndale Champion, Rockdale Reporter, K.R.X.T. , Thorndale ISD S.H.A.C. committee members along with all of the Thorndale High School Principal Mr. Hafley and staff, Sara Sanders – School Nurse, Danny Hernandez, Gattis Pizza– Ann Glenn, T-shirt sponsors- BS Tire, Will’s Garage, Sassy Up, Uptown Café, Dollar General, Jack Hillard Dist. Co., R.A. Huber Enterprises, Huber Hauling, MRI Construction, Students who participated in this program, Parents of the Shattered Dreams Participants, and many, many others, and a Special thanks to Melody Huber and Kim Knapek. 

Shattered Dreams is featured by Thorndale High School over a two day period before the Junior/Senior Prom to teach students the harsh lessons of drinking and driving and distracted driving. Jeni Anders has coordinated the program for Thorndale High School every three years since 2010. It’s all about the decisions you make. Our hope is that the program will help students make good choices and let them realize that this could be prevented. Our prayers are that our students do not become one of the statistics. If we save one life, then we have done something.