A new voice for a familiar message
May 24, 2012 12:10PM
Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School student Symone Johnson writes a card asking Richards High School students to act wisely the night of prom. | Supplied Photo
Updated: June 28, 2012 12:56PM
Parents, especially those with teenage children, never stop worrying. Several risk factors — driving, driving with other teenagers in the car, and, of course, the always-worrisome question of teenage judgment in decision-making — conspire to make prom night a sleepless one for moms and dads.
Teachers and parents implore high school students to choose wisely at prom. Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School students added their voice to this campaign at Richards High School for the third straight year.
OLHMS students wrote and designed greeting cards asking the Richards prom goers to make healthy decisions. When the Richards students walk into the ballroom the night of prom, they will find the cards waiting at their tables.
OLHMS teacher Chris Litsogiannis introduced the art project to her sixth-grade students.
“Our students are part of a positive atmosphere that deals with making connections to their community,” Litsogiannis said. “By being involved in the Richards prom card activity, our sixth-grade students are able to share their positive outlook with their contemporaries.”
OLHMS staff worked with the Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, the high school affiliate of MADD, on the project. Richards teacher Cora Umecker, the faculty sponsor of SADD, said she feels the cards will connect with teenagers.
“The ‘choose wisely’ message definitely has more effect on teens when it comes from younger students,” Umecker said. “It gives the impression that they are being looked up to, and teens genuinely appreciate that.”
OLHMS counselor Kathy Stangel echoed that sentiment.
“Many of our students have older brothers and sisters who are attending prom,” Stangel said. “As younger siblings, our middle school students look up to (teenagers). Many teens don’t realize the impact they make on younger kids.”
Like adults, teenagers asked to live up to expectations often rise to meet the challenge.
“By our sixth-grade students writing these prom cards, teenagers will be aware of how much younger students look up to them and are watching every move they make,” Stangel said. “It will encourage the prom-goers to make responsible and safe decisions on prom night and hopefully any other time.”
Provided to the SouthtownStar