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Prom, Graduation Summit Promotes Good Decisions
East, West Students Strategize Year-End Plans

3/26/2013-6/30/2013

Thanks to Lakota’s first-ever Prom and Graduation Summit, a letter writing campaign, a movie night or a special all-school assembly could be the difference between a safe and unsafe close to the school year.

On March 22, more than 50 students from both Lakota East and Lakota West high schools gathered at the West Chester Activity Center. They met to brainstorm strategies for promoting positive behavior among their peers, especially during the upcoming prom and graduation season. While group members acknowledged that good decision making is important year-round, they agreed it was particularly important to address it during the spring.

“Our goal is to come together as a school district and help make our schools and our community a safer place,” said Lakota East junior Kelsey Forren. “We’re focusing a lot on the consequences of substance abuse, but people make bad decisions all the time that don’t involve substances. It’s all about safe decision making in general.”

The group started the full-day meeting with an emotional testimonial from a local mother who had lost her son to an accident caused by a bad decision he made over his spring break. After hearing from school resource officers about the legal consequences of substance abuse and other activities, the large group broke into breakout sessions before gathering again to present their ideas to one another.

Forren’s group recommended a letter writing campaign from elementary students, and perhaps even mothers, to their peers. “So many of us have younger siblings, so to get a letter from someone who looks up to us could make a big impact on the types of decisions we make,” Forren said.

In addition to more heavily promoting the school’s after prom, Lakota West junior Bryan Kirwen’s group came up with the idea to have their peers pledge to make good decision by signing posters on display around the building. As a daily reminder, they would also be given wristbands to wear. 

“We want to help students understand that there are plenty of options to stay safe while still having the time of our lives,” Kirwen said.

Inspired by a Butler County summit that assembled leaders from schools all over the county, the Lakota-specific summit was facilitated by students who had attended that first meeting. According to Forren, who initially got involved through her affiliation with the J. Kyle Braid Leadership group, the county meeting only “scratched the surface.” The Lakota summit is intended to take it to the next level and put their ideas into action.

“The most effective way to make a difference with our peers is to have the message actually come from us, not necessarily adult figures,” said Lakota West senior Nicole Soutar, whose group was planning strategies for sharing personal stories and testimonials to help make a difference.

The group also received on-site support from representatives of the Alcohol and Chemical Abuse Council of Butler County, a group that organized and led the Butler County Summit.


(Top) Students close out the day-long summit with a team huddle in the West Chester Activity Center's community room.

(Middle) Lakota West junior Bryan Kirwen facilitates a discussion among his group members during the afternoon breakout sessions.

(Bottom) Lakota West senior Nicole Soutar takes notes as she listens to her group members' ideas.






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