They covered their noses as they stepped inside a morgue to witness a full dose of reality -- the bullet-riddled bodies of gun violence victims.
Some 50 Brooklyn, New York, high school and middle school students visited the Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center on Wednesday in what organizers are calling a last-ditch effort to drive the message home that guns and gangs can lead to a one-way trip underground.
"The gun violence rate is so high in East New York and we needed to make a change," Nicole Favours of Brookdale's public affairs department told ABC News. "What [the students have] been asked to do now is make a change."
The Brooklyn hospital receives a gunshot victim every 36 hours, according to hospital president Mark Toney.
Organizers are hoping this new initiative will have a lasting impact on the visiting teenagers.
"Seeing that body, it just made me realize that life is precious," a solemn Shane Magloire, 17, told ABC-owned station WABC. "And just thinking, like, 'What if one of my friends or myself was dead?'"
The group heard chilling stories from emergency room doctors and were shown videos and photos of gunshot victims.
"You guys have a decision to make," Khari Edwards, also of Brookdale's public affairs department, told the group. "You can make a decision to do great things, or you can make a decision to go the wrong way, and usually, wrong ways end you up here."
Favours says the plan, moving forward, is to bring students to the morgue every three months.
"It's not to scare them," Favours said, "but it's to inform them that this is the part you don't see."