New Year's Eve Dance to be sponsored by area teenagers

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A newly formed student-led organization will help host a New Year's Eve Dance for Cassville High School students on Saturday, Dec. 29 from 7 to 11:30 p.m. at Coconut's Cafe in Cassville.

The CHS chapter of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) is co-sponsoring the event with the Cassville Youth Advisory Board. The dance will include karaoke, food and drinks and lots of door prizes with three $10 to $50 prizes given away every 15 minutes.

The New Year's Eve Dance is free to all CHS students in ninth through 12th grades. Coconut's is located on Highway 112 south of Cassville.

The dance will be the first activity SADD has sponsored since the organization was formed in September. Students involved with SADD are helping to promote the dance and have assisted in securing door prizes.

SADD, formerly known as Students Against Drunk Driving, has expanded its mission to include a number of issues facing today's teenagers.

"SADD also encompasses underage drinking, bullying, date rape, teen depression and suicide, teen violence and even speeding in your car," said Elaine Boles, CHS nurse who serves along with Kevin Miller as co-sponsors of Cassville's SADD Chapter.

The SADD mission states that the organization was formed "to provide students with the best prevention and intervention tools possible to deal with the issues of underage drinking, other drug use, impaired driving and other destructive decisions.

According to Boles, students are enthusiastic about the new organization, which currently boasts a membership of 71 students.

In order to be involved in SADD, a student and a caring adult must sign a Contract for Life, which is a mutual agreement between a young person and an adult to communicate support one another in making positive decisions.

"This contract, in simple terms, says I'm the child, and yes I can mess up, but I need you as the adult to help me stay on the right track," said Boles. "If I'm a kid and I'm somewhere and a fight breaks out, I want to be able to call mom to come pick me up. The same would hold true for a situation involving drugs or alcohol."

SADD students are hoping to increase membership in the organization, so at the beginning of next semester, enrollment will be opened back up for more students to join.

"This is a student-run organization and they said they wanted more kids involved so enrollment will be opened up for a second time in January," Boles said. "It's our belief that the majority of our students want to make good decisions. We want to be able to help."

The message of SADD is simple. It's a no-use organization, and through involvement in SADD, students are hoping to increase the presence of positive peer pressure at CHS and motivate more students to avoid alcohol and drug use.

"The students want something positive for teenagers and want the community to be positive toward teenagers," said Boles. "You see so many negative things said about our youth, and here you have kids that want to make a difference."

In time, SADD hopes to have over half the students enrolled in high school become active members of the local chapter.

"I really feel this will happen," said Boles.

Some upcoming projects planned by SADD include: sponsoring a docudrama to showcase the dangers of drinking and driving; and creating family groups among SADD members of four to eight students. These units would remain intact throughout high school and new students would be added to the groups, which would give newcomers an immediate feeling of belonging.

Currently, the CHS Chapter of SADD meets once a month and officers meet bi-monthly. Currently, the SADD Chapter is led by Kelby Haynes as president, Ryan Schlichtman as vice president, Olivia Cline as treasurer, and Ariel Oswald as secretary.

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