Photos: Capo Valley High Mock Prom DUI

Capistrano Valley High School hosts a mock car accident to teach students not to drink and drive.

Editor's note: Until the end of 2011, Patch will be republishing some of the year's best photo essays in Mission Viejo.

Friends Against Drinking and Driving hosted its 20th anniversary mock car accident at Thursday morning.

The point was to teach students the heavy price they pay when they choose to drink and drive. FADD got some help from the Associated Student Body and the Orange County fire and sheriff's departments.

The performance was coordinated by students Alicia Badley and Jordyn Berk.

"I am glad that the performance had a huge impact on the students," Badley said.

See photos above.

Students watching the performance got to see and feel what it was like to lose their friends to a drunk driving accident.

"It was a huge eye opener," said 17-year-old student Katie Huish.

KC May 27, 2011 at 08:46 PM
But then the question is, "Is it truly art when it's manufactured with no soul or sprit behind it?"
Peter Schelden (Editor) May 27, 2011 at 10:05 PM
I like how the DUI performance has become an aesthetics debate. For my two cents, I'd say that art is an experience held between the artist and the audience, and if those two agree it's art, then it's art. Art is a relationship.
KC May 27, 2011 at 10:16 PM
Would it still be considered art if it was created based on a formula or was a direct copy of an existing piece as well as the audience was not given a choice to experience the art but was rather forced into viewing it?
Oliver Yu May 27, 2011 at 10:27 PM
I personally put a lot of my soul and spirit into my photos. This is why you will find a lot of photographers these days that shoot for local community papers that give photos that are well, boring and not moving. There were a large number of photographers there from numerous different media sources, but I can assure you that my photos are one of the best. There are many things that go into photojournalist photography than just point and shooting. Capturing moments takes a lot of training and time to learn how to do and identify. Thanks for the compliments Shripathi. KC - This event seemed like it really made an impact on the students opposed to the mock crashes and red asphalts I've personally gone through. I think this production was much more moving than normal, because the students in it were all current seniors and juniors attending the school. Also, this was no low budget performance as many of the government sponsored propaganda videos are. The performance was not cheesy at all and the students did a great job in making the accident seem real. If there wasn't the large number of kids in the background, would you be able to tell the difference between these photos and say a normal breaking news story about a DUI accident?
Peter Schelden (Editor) May 27, 2011 at 10:35 PM
I think the answer lies in the experience--and it has to be a somewhat intended affect to be art. So maybe I'm sitting at home accidentally flipping through channels and *BOOM* Baryshnikov suddenly reminds me of something uncanny and beautiful. I didn't ask for the experience, he didn't intend it for *me*, but he intended to affect the audience--at least one other person. And here I am, intentionally or not, being swept up in the art. So I don't think it matters if I meant to experience the art. As for formula versus--I don't know, inspiration? I think the distinction is overrated. For support, I offer the case of Pierre Menard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Menard,_Author_of_the_Quixote
KC May 27, 2011 at 10:52 PM
Capo has typically done... detailed mock crashes in the past (fire trucks, ruined cars, emergency workers, etc.), so this wasn't anything new and to say it had impact is debatable since there is no meaningful measure. It isn't like we have massive teen DUI deaths here nor do we have clean and sober teens. A lot of these types of events perpetuate that they impact the rates when in reality the factors may be closer related to other factors, such as socio-economic status, home life, access to intoxicants, etc. And to answer your last question, probably.
KC May 27, 2011 at 10:55 PM
But arguably, wouldn't it be different since you still have the freedom to physically engage (for lack of a better word) and remove yourself from it? Otherwise we could start calling prisons "Art therapy reabilitation centers".
Oliver Yu May 27, 2011 at 10:59 PM
It wasn't really the props I think that brought this production together, but the student actors. After covering a number of stories of their acting and theatre departments, I have personally found their level of quality is up to par to those of the professionals in broadway - especially in their other recent production of "West Side Story." I don't even go to this high school nor know anyone attending or in the performance - but the act evoked tears even in my own eyes. There is another media source that shot a video of the whole production that will be free to view on podcast soon. I am unsure of what media source it was though - but hopefully when it is publish, maybe you can watch it and rate it for yourself.
Peter Schelden (Editor) May 27, 2011 at 11:17 PM
I like that idea for prisons--it might be a more tolerable situation for our country's artists than the degrading bohemian environments they often fall into. I guess your question gets to the point that the students here are a captive audience. To my way of thinking, art is experiential. So that would mean we don't always get to decide when and where it occurs. And it is by no means something that we can force. I think you have to be in the right state of mind to have an art experience. For instance, if I watch a comedy, the company I'm with will dramatically affect how I respond to the comedy. Are they laughing? Is everyone having a good time? Do we have a funeral to attend in a couple of hours? It all plays a part and affects the end experience.
Oliver Yu May 27, 2011 at 11:18 PM
LOL...photographers these days are struggling for jobs, I wouldn't mind another outlet for business.
Panglonymous May 28, 2011 at 05:04 PM
@Oliver "If there wasn't the large number of kids in the background, would you be able to tell the difference between these photos and say a normal breaking news story about a DUI accident?" Yeah, the photo captioned "...Sara Hopp is delirious..." wouldn't have run - certainly not at the head of the piece. Editor?
Panglonymous May 28, 2011 at 07:15 PM
Also, there's a lot of leg on display (lilac dress) you wouldn't see (for long) in a real event or its coverage; they throw shock-prevention blankets over victims pretty quickly, I think. Ever see the movie, "Crash" [1996]? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115964/ Anyway, you've got a nice, active forum here, Peter, with a good mix of folks. Good work.
Oliver Yu May 28, 2011 at 08:56 PM
I actually didn't choose to run that photo as the lead, as it was the editor's choice on that one. Also, majority these photos wouldn't have ran if it was a real live incident as they are all minors and I highly doubt any parent wants to subject their children to that kind of media attention, all though I do have several not showing faces which would be ethical to run, I'd probably ask for permission beforehand.
Judith Anderson May 29, 2011 at 05:32 AM
Ditto on the above comment Oliver, from another...and as for your photojournalism for this assignment, to relate the story, well done. Philosophically motivating performance/visual 'art' is perhaps another story, with an entirely different aesthetic approach. Judith A
Peter Schelden (Editor) May 29, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Hi Panglonymous, we appreciate you dropping by. You're right that we would have handled this a lot differently if it was a real accident. In a case like that we wouldn't run the grizzly photos or faces of victims you see here. But I think Oliver's point is more that the students' acting chops were fully on display, making the accident convincingly real for those who saw it.
Peter Schelden (Editor) May 29, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Hi Judith, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
Panglonymous May 29, 2011 at 11:43 PM
Hi Peter, thanks for the welcome. My point, and it's surely not that clear from the two comments above, is "direction." The event was a performance - by student actors and actual firefighters, I think. Someone wrote, cast and directed it, making choices in what to convey and how to convey it. Oliver performed in a sense as well, because it wasn't a real event. The director may have told him how she'd like to see it shot, may even have "blocked" his movement somewhat to coordinate with the action. Then Oliver directed the piece in snapping it, informed by his sense of style and the choices *he* made in what to convey and how to convey it. He may have provided you with all of his snaps or he may have provided you those he judged the best or best suited. Then you directed the piece by your editorial choices in what to include (or lead with) and how to present it on the site. That's a few rings out from a "real" event. Yet the implied intent was to to make it "real" enough to be persuasive to the student audience. [cont]
Panglonymous May 29, 2011 at 11:44 PM
So, I (old codger) wasn't the intended audience and when the expression of the "delirious" girl hit my eye (I saw it as a thumbnail of her face, after the article had filtered down the page) it immediately struck me as false and annoying. Straight up. As I clicked through the snaps in slideshow I was annoyed even more by the falseness: the direction, the style, didn't seem right. (Again, I was not the intended audience, the initial audience, but I was an audience once removed nonetheless.) The 1994 film "Crash" popped to mind - an overlay of erotic style on disfigurement and death - and I pointed out the ample low angle leg on display in Oliver's photos as one element that reminded me of it. So, there you have it. Not trying to be didactic here, or annoying (too late!) just being "direct." ;-) I enjoy this kind of interplay; it challenges me to explore more fully and specifically what I mean when I write. Hopefully extended feedback is useful to youse guys, too. Cheers, Pan p.s. Another point just occurred to me: who was Oliver's intended audience? Direction and intended audience, yeah, that's the ticket.
NPR May 30, 2011 at 08:19 AM
I couldn't be happier for my fellow students. This mock DUI crash had me crying. I can see how cheesy this skit could get, but this one was very realistic in my opinion. I never knew we had such fantastic actors at Capo Valley. The pictures are such a wonderful reminder of this horrific scene we saw last Thursday. I personally love the emotion of the pictures jumping out. Even though they look phony and "annoying" to some, having been there to see it unfold, I can really appreciate these. Thank you for taking them, Oliver!
Panglonymous May 30, 2011 at 03:31 PM
I was thinking of which photo I would have lead with if I were editor (king). Frankly, I don't know. It's a fair question: so how would YOU have presented it, wise guy? Part of Peter's job is to get people to click through to read/view the full article. An ignored piece may be considered a failure in a practical sense. A bold presentation may also stir controversy and commentary. More page views, and with a thoughtful and diverse audience, maybe an expansion of a pat piece into something much much more. So "you go", all of you folks, it's "all good", when the foundation is strong: "I'll borrow from a thought attributed to Pyrrho, the ancient Greek philosopher: 'One ought not to suppose that that which persuades us is true. For the same thing does not persuade everyone nor does it persuade the same people constantly.'" (from Peter's profile.)
Samantha May 30, 2011 at 07:45 PM
As a student who participated in the mock crash, I'd have to say this assembly was anything but fake and unrealistic. Who are you to say that this wasn't real? Who are you to say that this didn't affect people? Your comments have no ground because you weren't there. I for one really appreciate the article and the pictures, but I'm sorry to say they don't do our mock DUI assembly justice..whatsoever. If you want to see how affective this crash was, just asked the students who actually watched it from three feet away, not from behind some computer screen. Every person that was in our crash assembly is so talented (not just the student actors, but the firefighters, police officers, and everyone who put this production together) and I challenge all of you to accomplish anything close to this. - Samantha Baker 
Panglonymous May 30, 2011 at 09:40 PM
Hi Samantha Who am I? An extremely presumptuous, doddering old fool. Still, we soldier on. ;-) May I ask your opinion? Would students have cared less if the "victims" were dumpy and unattractive? Would The Patch readers? Thanks, -Pan
shelly May 31, 2011 at 01:07 AM
Pan, This mock DUI crash is meant to influence and move the students at the school where it is done. They attempt to get a cross section of students to be the victims or the actors. The students or audience know the "actors" involved. I do believe students would have cared if the "victims" were "dumpy and unattractive" because the victims were friends, neighbors, team mates, classmates from kindergarten, lab partners, etc. The simulation is not about aethestics but about the reality of mortality and driving while intoxicated. Do you believe that high school students are so shallow as to only care about a victim if he or she is attractive and of a certain weight?
Panglonymous May 31, 2011 at 04:27 AM
Hi shelly Yes, I think people care *less* about the dumpy and unattractive. It's a cultural thing, at least, if not a human propensity: there's a general bias toward the lithe, tall and attractive. The film, tv and advertising industries reinforce it pretty hard. In my day, high school students were at least as inclined, if not more inclined, toward that bias. I didn't know how a modern high school student might answer that question, so I asked. I'm guessing that I still don't know. ;-) Do you think this discussion thread has been a useful addition to the piece as it appears here on Patch?
shelly May 31, 2011 at 03:17 PM
Pan, I have to disagree with you. If you know the person who is the victim it does not matter if the person is "unattractive or dumpy". It is the personal connection you have with the victim that matters. The victims are peers at the school and not picked to participate in an "America's Top Model" type casting. These mock DUI crashes are done at different schools, and the victims come in all shapes and sizes. I think the discussion misses the point of these mock DUI crash simulations. The kids are in prom dresses so they are dressed up and may look attractive. I think that people have focused on the very thing that they are commenting against and lost the whole point of the exercise. It is done to prevent students from drinking and driving. Whether it is effective or affective or not I do not know because I have not read any statistics on it. I think though every little bit helps. Teens often think they are immortal. Exercises like this may help them think just a little bit before they take the risk. Even if it is one teen then I think it has helped.
Shripathi Kamath May 31, 2011 at 03:51 PM
To appreciate Panglonymous's point, consider that you know of Natalie Holloway and Elizabeth Smart, but that you probably never heard of Alexis Patterson or Kayleah Wilson. Don't go googling now to find out who they are.
Panglonymous June 01, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Thank you, Brother Shri, for that half-open can of worms. Every good site should be stocked with them.
shelly June 01, 2011 at 06:54 PM
Shripathi Kamath, Yes, I know and it is unfortunate that attractive, young, caucasian females get more media and law enforcement attention than those who may be less attractive or a minority. This is a societal issue that is deeply rooted and we all need to work on it. The girls are in the prom dresses because prom is a night when many teen DUI crashes and deaths have occurred.
Shripathi Kamath June 01, 2011 at 07:04 PM
@shelly, do not confuse an observation of reality with being comfortable with it. @Panglonymous, I never pay retail for bait.
shelly June 02, 2011 at 03:23 PM
I am not confusing. I don't think any of us should be comfortable with it.


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