On Monday afternoon, Clay Community School (CCS) students gathered on bleachers in the rear parking lot of NHS to witness a realistic, yet simulated, tragedy.
In preparation for prom and graduation celebratory seasons, CCS teachers and administrators wanted to find a way to reach students to show them the dangers of having "a couple of drinks" and choosing to operate a vehicle can be.
Members from the NHS Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) club and students in Bethany Jones' Advanced Health class helped set the scene while posing as victims in the drama.
During the event, two battered vehicles were set up in the back parking lot at the high school.
Students heard ambulances and rescue crews approaching, and a helicopter descended on the scene.
Students watched as firemen with the Posey Township Volunteer Fire Department freed victims from the vehicles by taking the roof off with the Jaws of Life.
Paramedics were on the scene to help the injured, as well as the Clay County Sheriff's Department.
Some students were put on stretchers, and one student was transported by helicopter.
NHS senior Hillary Thomas said participating in the mock accident affected her, and she hopes the experience reminds her friends to make sound choices on prom night.
"The community really came together to make it a realistic experience, more than I had ever anticipated," Thomas said. "It felt so real to me as if I was really in a car crash. I can't even imagine if it were me or one of my friends actually in the situation."
After NHS sophomore Bryce Crawford observed the mock accident, he said it was traumatizing and "stomach dropping."
During the mock experience, NHS sophomore Chase Haring was declared deceased. Afterward Haring's "mother," NHS Spanish teacher Diana Knox, hysterically rushed onto the scene in response to discovering her son died.
"The part where the helicopter came in was what really made it all sink in because that's when you know it really gets bad," Crawford told The Brazil Times. "It was also pretty emotional for the mother to come find her child dead. That would be horrible."
After the scene was cleared, a local funeral home assisted with the event, and there was a mock trial with Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger.
Crawford reflected on losing a fellow classmate, and he said even when someone who is only an acquaintance passes, it is still a sad experience.
"When you've had conversations with someone and they've become your friend, it's so sad to think you'll never see them or talk to them again," Crawford said. "They're gone."
NHS Principal Lynn Romas said he wants students to take the importance of making good decisions with them from the mock accident experience.
"Sometimes students don't realize how quickly incidents can happen," Romas said.
"Young people tend to think they are indestructible. We want everybody to be safe on all the events we have including prom and post prom."