St. Patrick’s Day Reminder: Don’t Drink and Drive

For most people, St. Patrick’s Day is a day of celebration and fun.

Students who attended Lake Shore High School in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, six years ago may remember this day differently than most.

I, for sure, am one of these students who will never forget March 16 and 17, 2009.

My parents were heading home from a night of bowling on the 16th when they passed a horrible car accident in front of a local mall. They got home that night and told me about it.

“I sincerely hope those weren’t students at your school,” my mom said to me. I went to sleep that night, not really thinking much of it.

The next morning, my dad came upstairs and sat on the edge of the bed, waking me up.

“I really don’t want to tell you this, but those students went to your school,” he said.

I never woke up so quickly. I turned on the news immediately and sat there, staring at the screen, as the newscasters detailed what they knew about the accident.

Four students from Lake Shore High School were killed when they were hit by a drunk driver. The news showed videos of the scene but no names were released at that point. I was filled with dread. What if they were my friends? Even if they weren’t my friends – they were someone else’s.

While approaching my high school that morning, something felt wrong. There was a heaviness hanging over the entire block. Newscasters were parked up and down the street and students were congregating inside the building trying to figure out what was happening.

This was St. Patrick’s Day, but no one was wearing green. No one was cheery.

I found my friends in the cafeteria before class started – I hadn’t lost anyone. As I walked through the halls, however, I saw people who did. They held each other and wiped away their tears. I vividly remember the image of one of the foreign language teachers being consoled by her colleagues. People had already started leaving messages and trinkets on the lockers of those four students.

I didn’t know what to feel about this. I hadn’t known any of them very well. Should I feel sadness? Should I feel anger?

For first period, I had AP Biology. My teacher canceled the lesson for that day. She put in a video and we sat in silence. Some students paid attention while others laid their heads on their desks, closed their eyes and took it all in.

During homeroom, our principal made an announcement. There was a moment of silence. I couldn’t help but shed a few tears – tears of both sadness and anger – not for myself, but for everyone else involved. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what their families and friends were feeling.

As the bell rang, one student rushed out of the room, his eyes red and full of tears. I waited for everyone else to leave before I got up. I stood in the doorway and watched everyone move slowly though the halls.

I have never in my life heard a silence that seemed so loud.

The fact of the matter is that this shouldn’t have happened. Because of the carelessness of one person, four young, innocent lives were cut short.

St. Patrick’s Day may be a day for fun, but there is a line that can be crossed. Be responsible for yourself and keep an eye on those around you. Do not be reckless. If you drink and drive, you put not only your life in danger, but the lives of many others.

Call a cab to take you home. Walk back home from the bar. Call a friend to come get you. Do anything to prevent an accident like this from happening again.