Libertyville High students sign pledge to avoid drugs, alcohol during winter break
The temptation teenagers face to drink or use drugs is great -- even more so during winter break, when bottles of booze can be plentiful and adult supervision may be lax.
Members of a Libertyville High School club are hoping their peers will curb that temptation by pledging to avoid alcohol and drugs during their upcoming vacations.
Starting Thursday and continuing Friday, teens in the Athletes Committed to Excellence club have staffed a table outside the cafeteria during lunch periods to urge other students to take the pledge.
Dozens did the first day.
Junior Nikki Westphal was among the students who signed a pledge and added their names to an ever-growing list that's scrolling on the club's website,
"It's keeping everybody healthy and keeping everybody on the right track," Westphal said.
The athletic club's primary goal is to help students make good decisions outside of school, said sponsor Sean Ferrell, a dean and coach at Libertyville High.
The group has asked students to take the no-drugs pledge for three years at specific times throughout the year.
"There are certain times of year that are more risky for kids," Ferrell said.
The day before Thanksgiving is especially challenging to stay clean, he said. So are spring break, prom weekend, homecoming and summer.
Sometimes the group sets up the pledges before these breaks or events. Sometimes members just pass out fliers reminding the teens to stay safe and act properly.
"We're trying to break the perception that every high school kid drinks or uses," Ferrell said. "We're trying to compete the right way and lead the right way in school."
Club member Lauren Brennan volunteered to man the table for a 50-minute period Thursday. She knows teen drinking is taken much more seriously today than it was for previous generations.
"A lot more is on the line now," said Brennan, a junior. "The consequences are bigger for people who are drinking or doing drugs."
Club member Julia Neiweem likes that the names of the students who sign the pledge are publicly displayed on the group's website.
"It makes people aware that other people are doing it, too," she said. "You're not the only one who's doing it."