The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Opinion

February 26, 2014

Thanks are in order

GREENVILLE — Shattered Dreams 2014 is now completed.

The program took 18 months of planning and involved over 400 volunteers to send a strong message to students at Greenville High School and Greenville Christian School about the dangers of poor choices in regards to drinking and driving.

There are so many people and organizations to acknowledge for their participation. Let me begin by thanking the Herald-Banner for their outstanding coverage both before and during the event. Brad Kellar’s reporting captured the story of our mock crash, memorial service and trial in moving words and photos. The editorial opinion published after the final day of activities endorsed the program and our efforts. In this event, you were more than just a newspaper — you were our partner in educating the community.

Next, I would like to thank the administrations of GISD and Greenville Christian School, particularly Heath Jarvis, principal at GHS, and Steve Bowers, headmaster at GCS. Your commitment to this program is inspiring, especially since it involved the disruption of classes for several days to teach a very different lesson to the students. Another thank you goes to the teachers and staff at both schools, who used classroom time to reinforce our message over the three days of the event.

The DrugFree Greenville Shattered Dreams “Dream Team” also deserves recognition for their months of hard work. Bonita Malone, the current director, and Sharon Kroncke, the retired director of DrugFree Greenville lead the process, assembling a team of talented and dedicated people — many returning time after time to chair a committee. The months of work and attention to the tiniest detail are what make this program what it is. There are a number of programs around Texas that use the name “Shattered Dreams,” but none that go to the lengths and depths found in the Greenville project. That is what makes our message resonate with this entire community.

Speaking of community, we are so fortunate to have the support of so many organizations and businesses. Those include law enforcement, emergency responders, city services, medical professionals, clergy, churches, civic groups, the hospital, the courts, and legal and business professionals. Whatever we asked for, you gave us and then asked if we needed anything else. Wow!

I also want to thank the students at both Greenville High School and Greenville Christian School. You approached an uncomfortable subject bravely and allowed us to sweep you up in the whole process. You responded by being attentive and engaged. Often things were tough to watch and felt very real, but you went along. We hope you heard our message loud and clear and will think when faced with these very real choices in the future. We did this to save your lives!

And finally … and most importantly … I want to thank our 37 brave student participants and their families. Without your courage and commitment, all the plans we made would have been useless. You played your individual roles magnificently, whether as Living Dead walking among your fellow students in school, as parents receiving death notices that your child had been killed in an alcohol-related crash, as enactors covered in fake blood and realistic makeup in the crash scene, or as drunk drivers facing a very difficult trial for horrific actions you didn’t really commit. You inspired all of us.

Part of the success of Shattered Dreams in Greenville is that it only happens every four years. That is designed to make sure we face a new group of students at both schools and the message is never diluted. One of the things I know for certain is that when the next Dream Team begins the planning process for Shattered Dreams 2018, this community will step up again and ask, “What can we do?”

Thank you, thank you.

Pud Kearns

Shattered Dreams 2014 Chairperson

 

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