Police tape adorned the lunch room, setting the atmosphere for jagPRIDE’s driving under the influence checkpoint prevention activity on Wednesday, April 17.
The event required that students put on Fatal Vision Goggles, which impairs students’ vision as if they had been drinking, and then attempt to walk in a straight line while a school resource officer pointed out when a student drifted off the linej
JagPRIDE held the DUI activity in recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month. Previously, they have hosted the event outside and had students drive around in golf carts. This year they held it inside the lunch room in hope of reaching a larger audience. JagPRIDE was successful in attracting a larger audience, with having one hundred twenty-six students go through the activity along with 41 students who got in line but were unable to participate. Previously, jagPride only had half that number of students.
JagPRIDE sponsor Debbie Gudenkauf said that not only did more students participate in the DUI checkpoint prevention activity, but more students were also influenced by it.
“When we did it in the lunch room it has a visual impact to all students in the cafeteria,” Gudenkauf said. “You could see people go through the cafeteria and look at what was happening. They may not do it or not watch it all the time because they were eating or talking, but everyone knew what was going on.”
The jagPRIDE event reaffirmed sophomore Hayley Dozier’s decision to never drink alcohol.
“I had decided a long time ago that I didn’t want to drink,” Dozier said. “But I chose to do [the activity] so I would know what it feels like to be drunk and I now know I don’t want to feel it again.”
Senior Amanda Platt said that, before jagPRIDE held the event, a lot of students did not realize the implications behind driving while intoxicated.
“Many students don’t understand the dangers of drinking and driving,” Platt said. “They don’t realize how much alcohol really can effect their driving and may lead to their own injuries and others [injuries].”
Platt hopes that the DUI activity helped to illuminate the consequences of drunk driving for other students.
“I hope that students got a better understand of the extreme dangers behind getting behind the wheel,” Platt said. “[I think] that it will positively impact decisions they make in the future.”
Red Ribbon week, sponsored by JagPRIDE is held to educate students and staff of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. During the week of Oct. 22- 26 JagPRIDE encouraged students to help spread the word by decorating their seminar classroom door. Each door had a theme that tied into being drug free.
Senior Kelly Spring helped out by decorating communication arts teacher Kristen Crosbie’s door.
“Our theme was ‘Don’t Get Wrapped Up In Drugs,’” Spring said. “We wanted to make Crosbie proud by decorating her door and we also wanted to win the prize for best door.”
Freshman Maria Gilbert helped choir director Sheree Stoppel with her door decorations. Paper plates and pictures of healthy food choices were used to portray their ‘Eating Right’ theme.
“We want people to be aware of healthy choices,” Gilbert said. “We also wanted to spread school spirit by participating in the competition for best door.”
Sponsored by jagPRIDE, guest speaker Joe White visited the school to address the student body about avoiding alcohol and understanding the consequences of their actions on Friday, Sept. 7.
White was hospitalized in September 2006, after he jumped from a moving vehicle traveling 35 mph while under the influence of alcohol. He suffered a severe brain injury that impaired his speech and left the right side of his body partially paralyzed.
White now visits schools in hopes that his message will prevent others from making mistakes such as his. His presentations include not only his speaking but also the video of him leaping out of the car and the damage it caused his body.
“[It] makes you think about things, your consequences, your actions,” White said.
White understands this because the consequences of his mistake have proven numerous. During his presentation, he was assisted by 2002 graduate Abbie Eli, who picked up where White left off when he was unable to complete his statements. He also needs subtitles to understand movies, takes antidepressants to prevent becoming suicidal and continues to undergo medical treatment.
His accident changed his ability to do anything besides tell his story.
“What can I do? College?” White said. “I can’t do anything.”
Junior Luke Walling thought White’s presentation went well, but failed to completely reach the students.
“I think the message was positive, but I don’t think it really related to a lot of kids because they still think they’re invincible and that nothing can bring them down, so they’re still making stupid decisions and going on with life,” Walling said.
Sophomore jagPRIDE member Maddie Butterfield disagrees.
“I felt like Joe White’s story really resounded with a lot of the students because his story is relatable to high schoolers,” Butterfield said. “We can only hope that his message empowers students to be more conscious of their decisions this year.”
White’s ultimate message to students everywhere is to just think about their actions.
“Don’t do anything,” White said. “Never give up. Be safe and never give up.”
With the lights dimmed on Wednesday, Sept. 28, students fell silent as guest speaker Calvin Terrell held up a T-shirt with a gang’s slogan, “Support your local white boy” across the front. He acquired the shirt when a former member quit and donated it to help influence the decrease in prejudice. He described the violent acts they committed as students grew uncomfortable.
JagPRIDE sponsored two speakers that coincided with the Kansas anti-bullying campaign, including Terrell. He delivered a powerful message to students dealing with issues of prejudice, violence and hatred.
“Calvin showed that if we stop and consider what is going on around us, we can make a change,” junior Autumn Rodriguez said.
Terrell reached the audience with personal experiences, including how witnessing the death of his friend affected him. After that moment, he made a change for the better. He used engaging activities with trigger words to demonstrate how easily people can be conditioned everyday.
“The atmosphere when Calvin came was indescribable,” Rodriguez said. “I felt like he wasn’t talking to us, but with us.”
Terrell not only embodied an inspiring message, but reached students through his presentation.
“I thought he was cool by easing into it and then addressing the topic,” sophomore Dakota Rogers said.
To address binge drinking and alcohol poisoning, jagPRIDE invited Debbie Allen as its second speaker on Monday, Nov. 28 to share the story of her 17-year-old daughter’s death that resulted from alcohol poisoning. Although her story earned sympathy from many, students felt she lacked in presentation.
“I understood the topic and the bad situation,” Rogers said. “But, she didn’t do a very good job of presenting [the information].”
Both speakers left a lasting impression. Terrell reinforced his message by providing all students with rubber bracelets engraved with the motto, “Every choice you make will either help or haunt you.”
“Calvin’s presentation was truly moving,” Rodriguez said. “[It] brought tears to my eyes.”
The People First Language Movement sponsored by jagPRIDE will be on Wednesday, March 7. They will have a banner that the student body will be able to sign and MVTV will be working on a video that will be shown during seminar.
Sponsor Debbie Gudenkauf wants students to be more attentive to their word choices.
“I want people to be more aware of the language that they use which may be offensive towards people with disabilities,” Gudenkauf said. “This year, instead of focusing on the r-word, it is now People First Language.”
Sophomore Alyssa Hobson shares this goal.
“Last year people were complaining about how it was only the r-word when there are many more stereotypes,” Hobson said. “The People First Language Movement works to encompass all those terms and promote respect for everyone no matter what their condition is.”
In an effort to promote drug and alcohol awareness, jagPRIDE created trivia questions to test the student body’s knowledge. From Monday, Oct. 31 to Friday, Nov. 4 members of jagPRIDE set up a table during lunch for students to participate in the trivia game.
“I hope that the people who participate in this trivia feel the realization of how bad these things are for you.” jagPRIDE member senior Lindsay Mason said.
Different topics were covered throughout the week. Some of those topics included tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and prescription medication abuse.
“I think the most shocking fact I learned was the number of people addicted to prescription drugs,” jagPRIDE sponsor Debbie Gudenkauf said. “It’s 7 million. It’s outrageous.”
JagPRIDE members hope that this drug fact awareness trivia has helped students realize the consequences of their actions.
“I hope [the trivia] affects the choices that they make and help them to know ahead of the consequences,” Mason said. “They need to know the consequences.”
Members of jagPRIDE meet weekly and create events designed to inform the student body of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. On Monday, Nov. 28, jagPRIDE has organized for a speaker to visit to talk about the loss of her daughter due to alcohol abuse.
Gudenkauf believes that students will be affected by this shocking information.
“The more kids hear this information,” Gudenkauf said. “The more it sinks in.”
Eighth graders filed into the Monticello Trails Middle School gym, while junior jagPRIDE members Ashley Hague, Amanda Platt and Hanna Torline and sophomores Shelby Rayburn, Marissa Bernal, Katie Linsey, got ready for the Red Ribbon week skit on Thursday, Oct. 27. The skit showed the eighth graders was how you should react when you are confronted with drugs, alcohol or tobacco.
MTMS school resource officer Tom Hayseldon then spoke to the eighth graders about what will happen if you are under the influence or have possession of alcohol or drugs. Then, students asked questions to jagPRIDE members and Hayseldon about drugs, alcohol and high school.
MTMS counselor Dave Anderson thought that this presentation impacted the eighth graders.
“It was well worth our time to have them come. It’s different when there are kids coming down from the high school than other middle school kids,” Anderson said. “It was an impact on our kids. Especially it impacts the eighth graders to make good decisions.”
Hague thought the students asked excellent questions.
“I think it went well,” Hague said. “They asked really good questions that were relevant.”
jagPRIDE hosted Arrive Alive DUI/Texting Prevention Program on Friday, Sept. 16 to educate students on the dangers of drunk and distracted driving.
Behind the senior café, students were able to get behind the wheel of a real car hooked up to a simulator to experience driving distracted.
Students received a fake ticket at the end of the simulation in order to understand the legal and physical dangers of driving while distracted.
“I couldn’t keep control of the wheel,” freshman Mary Cooley said.
jagPRIDE sponsor Debbie Gudenkauf hoped that Arrive Alive was a good experience for students.
“Hopefully, [the program] will save some lives,” Gudenkauf said.
In an effort to make students aware of the effects of driving under the influence, jagPRIDE set up a DUI Checkpoint simulation in the parking lot.
Students and teachers were invited to participate in the event, where they could drive a golf cart through an obstacle course with drunk driving goggles on to simulate what it would be like to drive under the influence.
Sophomore Avery Laluk realized the effects that alcohol can have after he drove the golf cart.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that being drunk makes you less functional,” Laluk said. “You can’t drive when you can’t see and are completely dizzy.”
Along with driving the golf cart, students took a DUI Checkpoint quiz, performed a field sobriety test with the goggles on, saw pictures of real DUI crashes and talked to Shawnee police officers about the consequences of receiving a DUI.
Officer Matt Klein thought the activities students participated in were very realistic.
“This is just a simulation, but as poorly as people are doing today, that’s what people do when they are drunk in real life,” Klein said. “Drugs are the same thing. There’s no difference.”