Independence students urge Shepard kids to choose wisely at prom
May 24, 2012 12:10PM
Independence Junior High School students Hanna VanWitzenburg (left) and Nyiah Jackson write and design prom cards asking Shepard High School students to make healthy decisions at this year’s dance. | Supplied Photo
Updated: June 28, 2012 12:56PM
The excitement of prom — gowns, tuxedoes, photos, dancing, dinner, post-prom plans, maybe a limousine —makes the night unlike any other for high school students. And risk and worry, as parents know too well, accompany that night.
This year, when Shepard High School students walk into prom, young voices will join those of their teacher and parents asking them to make healthy decisions.
Cards designed by art students from Independence Junior High School in Palos Heights will adorn each table. The cards will ask each Shepard student to choose wisely that night, to make healthy decisions, and to act like a role model.
“I think it’s great for the kids to take time to do something for someone else,” said Independence art teacher Mike Maholland. “It helps to reinforce a sense of community, in knowing that people care about each other and are watching out for one another.”
Both Maholland and Independence principal Paul McDermott viewed the project as possessing value for their students as well.
“Independence has partnered with Shepard to not only support the decision-making of our graduates during prom season, but also to make a positive impact on our current students,” McDermott said.
Indeed, inspiring thought on issues such as substance abuse, underage drinking and driving under the influence at the junior high level can only help, McDermott said.
“We think this is a good reminder for our students that making the right decision is not always the easy decision,” he said. “These cards may help inspire a recent graduate, friend, neighbor or older sibling to think and act responsibly.
“We were thrilled to work collaboratively on the prom card project with Shepard and look forward to many more collaborative projects in the future.”
“Many felt a sense of pride in having been asked to make the cards, realizing the importance of the occasion,” Maholland said.
Juan Cruz, a Shepard teacher and faculty sponsor of class officers, emphasized that parents also should talk with their children about making healthy decisions.
“Parents should talk with their son or daughter and have a frank conversation about making smart decisions the weekend of prom,” Cruz said. “They should stress that a decision can affect the rest of their lives.”
Provided to the SouthtownStar