Granite Bay High School
A volunteering story by: John H
Last April, I chose to share my story in front of the students and parents of Granite Bay High school. In December 2013, I was arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol; at that point in time, I thought that my life was over. As days passed and I began to deal with the repercussions and consequences of my mistake all I could think was, “why me”. I knew for a fact the so many other kids chose to drink and drive all of the time and they never got caught, nor did anything ever happen to them. FORTUNATELY, for me, I did get caught. After getting caught for driving under the influence I have learned many things and also have so many new outlooks on drinking. After coming to the realization that there was nothing that I could do to change the situation that I got myself into I decided that it was my job to try my best to educate the kids of the community in which I lived.
About a month after the arrest I contacted the Principal of Granite Bay High school and told him what had happened and that I wanted to share my mistakes with the students in hope that I could possibly save someone from going through what I still continue to go through in a day to day basis. Principal McGuire greatly appreciated my effort to make changes in the community and immediately put me in contact with the Activities Director for Granite Bay; Kathie Sinor. Mrs. Sinor also was very admired by my decision to share and 100% on board with the idea.
Our first thought was for me to speak during the “Every 15 Minutes” event; a reenactment of a car crash where students were killed by a drunk driver. The event didn’t happen until later in the year and I really wanted to share my experience as soon as possible. With that in mind, Sinor put together and “Alcohol Forum”, where not only I was going to share my story but also there was going to be a local Judge there to talk about the facts and consequences of Driving Under the Influence. As well as the Judge sharing her insight and facts about drinking there too was a Doctor that described the affects of Alcohol on the body. With the Alcohol Forum Scheduled for May 1st at 6:30PM I had about 5 weeks to put together a 15-20 minute speech about myself, and my choice to drink and drive.
May 1st, 2014, knowing that I was going to speaking in front of about 250 people and that I was not to fond of public speaking; my nerves were racing all day. I got off of work at 4’oclock and went to dinner with some family that was going to be attending the forum to watch. My nerves were so high that I could barely get any food down before the speech. I arrived about 30 minutes early to get prepared and assess the auditorium where I’d be telling my story.
We parked the car and began walking to the main cafeteria where we were directed to go. On the path there, I began to notice multiple different signs and flyers posted all around the school advertising about the Forum. On the flyers was my name in bold letters stating what I was going to be talking about. I thought that I was nervous before… WOW was I SO nervous now. I kept reminding myself why I was there and the purpose that I was trying to fulfill and it would settle me back down. As the students and parents began to trickle in and I sat at the front of the auditorium my nerves kicked right back up!
The first person that was up to talk was the doctor; of course I had to go right after a professional who has done public speaking hundreds of times…He talked for about 20 minutes on the affects of alcohol and drugs on the body, and how people with addictive personalities are affected so much more because of how much more abuse they do with the substance of choice. After the doctor was finished, he sat back down and Mrs. Sinor then introduced me to the audience and it was on.
I immediately stood up and took my place at the podium with my note cards. I gazed out into the audience and noticed many familiar faces; this began to make me even more nervous because I started to think about what they would think of me. I looked down at my note cards and then began in on my speech. Because my nerves were so high I decided that it was best to not even use a microphone but to just speak loud and clear and project my voice as best as possible. After about the first 30 seconds into the speech my nerves completely went away! Although because I was so nervous for so long I think that I became very dehydrated prior because I found myself needing to sip water about once a minute.
Throughout the duration of my speech I would pause and take in all of the different reactions that people had; some were very intent on what I had to say, even crying some. Others had looks of disgust for the mistakes I was telling about. I tried my best to just keep a level head and just continue on with what I had to say. My speech lasted the longest out of everyone that shared, at about 45 minutes long. Toward the end of the speech I noticed multiple boys sitting in the back that lacked the attention toward what I had to say. I began to relate those boys to friends and myself.
You could tell that they were only there for the extra credit opportunity for class. So I directed the end of my speech right at them, as if I was speaking across the auditorium to them directly. I was determined to make an impact on the kids who took lightly to Drinking and Driving. As I finished up my speech I began to feel a feeling of accomplishment and content. The Moms with tears and their eyes began to mouth “thank you” to me, the parents with disgust began to have looks of understanding and the students who were just like me, with feelings of being invincible began to see the light.
All in all, by no means am I proud of or happy of what happened to me; I am though very grateful for the second chance I was given and the opportunity to give back. Before my DUI, I was one of the kids in the back not really paying attention to what was being said because I never in a million years thought that it was going to happen to me. Now, being on the other side of it, my eyes are very open to things and possibilities that could happen and do happen to people everyday. I am, extremely grateful for the opportunity to have possibly changed some ones life or lives.
To summarize it in three words…