PLEASANTON, CA–It was an overcast Thursday morning in Pleasanton. But, frankly, it could have been any day of the week. The serenity of a Tri-Valley moment was suddenly shattered by the horrifying sound of a car collision and the associated horror of vehicle casualties. Fortunately, this joint was not real and was created by a cooperative between the Pleasanton Police Department, Amador Valley High School and a small team of talented students from Dublin High School. In a scene that seemed too authentic, AVHS junior and senior classes attended the first day of the “Every 15 Minutes” program just outside the grounds of their school site.
The intent of “Every 15 Minutes” is to graphically warn young people of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs or while distracted. Although this program has its genesis in Canada, for several years the program has been sponsored by high schools throughout the United States. Dublin High School conducted its exercise every four years in the spring of 2016. The events of the first day were narrated by students in the video production program led by teacher Michael D’Ambrosio. This exercise is essential as footage taken of the crash scene and subsequent events is merged into a video that is shown on the second day during a school mock burial.
In many ways, it has been remarkable how this program has become one of the most requested choices by students. It spawned other projects, including the popular DHS Film Festival taking place in May. But a telling testimonial to the success/ability of your endeavors is if another school reaches out to take advantage of your skills. This happened when Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton inquired about the ability of the DHS program to successfully execute this opportunity.
The only answer might be “yes”. But, the commitment could only succeed with a full “buy-in” from a small army of students who would be willing to pour their hearts and souls into a project that wasn’t even happening in their own school. It was a true “Unity is Strength” moment. But, there was never any doubt.
In classic style, Mr. D’Ambrosio rounded up his talent pool and also determined that a student would lead the charge. This person arrived in the form of senior, Madeline Nobida. Maddy is a veteran of this group and had experience in previous projects. Still, the lead role would be key and provide the glue for a successful project. We contacted Ms. Nobida to ask her opinion on the process.
OneDublin.org: When you were part of a team, Mr. D’Ambrosio clearly relied on you to provide leadership. Please describe this experience/responsibility.
Madeleine Nobida“I was truly honored that Mr. D’Ambrosio turned to me to help lead our team of students. I am very passionate about our work and the important messages we send, so having the opportunity to lead our students means the world to me. Having good communication, leading by example and having past experiences with these types of projects have been key to leading our team and our project to success. It is also very important to be able to manage those who will take the senior positions when we are gone in the next few years.
OneDublin.org: We were on hand to chronicle day one at Amador Valley. How did things go on the second day? Please share an anecdote that you found interesting.
nobida: “As a film crew, the second day was a very rewarding day. We spent months and almost 20 full hours working so hard on the film, so being able to see everyone’s first reactions and emotions at the presentation really struck us. Although it was a very moving assembly, we were so happy to contribute to the impact left on the students. Also, a huge thank you to the students in Amador Valley who put together their Every 15 Minutes. We deeply appreciate the trust you place in us for this project!
OneDublin.org: Please explain how your involvement in video production has positively impacted your experience at DHS.
nobida“Being introduced to the video production program midway through my high school career completely changed my outlook not only for the next two years, but for the rest of my life as well. I was an artist for most of my life before I was in video production, but I never used my talents for a greater good. Having Mr. D’Ambrosio as a teacher and mentor really brought out the best artist, student and leader within me and he taught me how to use my abilities to positively impact others.Since joining the class, I have become more involved in my community, not just in high school itself. same.
OneDublin.org: What are your personal ambitions after graduation? How do you intend to stay rooted in the arts?
nobida“After graduation, I intend to continue to be an active artist and leader. I was blessed to pursue my passion for dance while in college at UCLA, and I know that through my major, I will continue my drive to impact people’s lives. In the future, I would like to become a counselor or a teacher because the people currently in those roles in my life have made me a better person. I know that no matter what I end up doing, the arts will always be there to inspire me and help me help people as much as possible.
So now the story can be told. After a long day at Amador Valley HS, the DHS students headed back to school and got into post-production. Keep in mind that anything less than perfect will not produce the expected impact for the second day of the program. While the students worked late into the morning, their teacher stayed up even longer. But, as he would later say, it was simply a labor of love. With the final footage embedded for release, Michael was simply ready for another day and the final execution of what his band had been working on for so many weeks. We asked Mr. D’Ambrosio for some of his thoughts.
OneDublin.org: As you consider the debut of the Dublin High School Video Production Program compared to 2017, please express what you are most proud of.
Michael D’Ambrosio“If you had told me where our program would be where it is now three years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. The students have done an amazing job helping this program grow and showing an interest in what the program has to offer. Thinking back to a previous article posted on Onedublin.org in February 2015, I mentioned that I looked forward to hearing where our program will be not just in the next two years, but five years from now. Well, here we are two years later and still growing. I can’t wait to see where we will be in three years.
OneDublin.org: Explain how it is that Amador Valley High School contacted you/DHS to document their “Every 15 Minutes” program.
D’Ambrosio“Earlier in the school year, the officer in charge contacted me and asked if we would be interested. My students even felt honored to be approached and we jumped at the chance. We met the amazing students of Amador and the rest is history. It was great to work with them and we admire that every part of E15 at Amador was planned from start to finish by a committee of students. It is simply remarkable!
OneDublin.org: Although this was a complete team effort, you relied on Ms Nobida to lead the group. What did she bring to the table?
D’Ambrosio“Maddie is a hard worker. She takes her job very seriously. During filming, we had a lot of days on set and she was pretty much everyone. To think that she’s only been doing video production-type work for less than two years is mind-boggling. The sky is the limit for her and I know she will do well at UCLA where she can still do film type work as she focuses on her major which is dance. The program will certainly miss not only his leadership skills, but also his work ethic and determination. »
We don’t want to minimize the message that needs to be conveyed by the entire “Every 15 Minutes” program. The restriction on impaired driving must be eliminated. That said, the students of the DHS Video Production Program have effectively put their stamp on bringing this message to the Tri-Valley through their talents. OneDublin.org would like to congratulate Ms. Nobida, Mr. D’Ambrosio and all the students who participate in the video production program. Please see their production: