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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, April 26, 2002

A former student tells how he lost it all

Advertiser Staff

Assets High School and Mid-Pacific Institute students got a lesson about teen drinking and driving yesterday from a young man who was involved in an alcohol related crash just before his high school prom.

Brandon Silveria, who has made presentations to high school students around the nation, visited the two Hawai'i high schools with first lady Vicky Cayetano. Cayetano also has launched a campaign against teen drinking.

In an effort to pass on Silveria's message during the prom and graduation season, Cayetano mailed the "Brandon Tells His Story" videotape to all Hawai'i high schools.

In his presentation, Silveria told students he drank a few drinks at a party, fell asleep while driving home, and crashed into a tree. He was left in a coma for three months and spent several years in rehabilitation. He has permanent brain injury and suffers from seizures.

"What you become depends on the choices that you make," Silveria said. "When I was 17 I had a job and a girlfriend. Because of my crash, I lost both of them. My hope is that by sharing my experiences with other young people, I can prevent others from being hurt or killed."

Cayetano worked with The Century Council, a Washington, D.C.-based organization financed by America's leading distillers, to bring Silveria to Hawai'i.

Cayetano said: "Weekend nights during the prom-graduation season are the most deadly for our nation's youth. By spreading Brandon's life-saving message, I hope to save many lives this spring and for the rest of the year."

To request a free copy of the 30-minute "Brandon Tells His Story" or for more information on the Silveria program, call (800) 431-4499.