Friday, April 30, 1999

Skits carry message to classmates


Teen troupe promotes abstinence

BY SUE KIESEWETTER
Enquirer Contributor

        LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — Under Pressure isn't afraid to tackle any topic that touches the lives of teen-agers.

        The Lakota East High School performing group uses short skits written and presented by teens to try to persuade classmates to stay away from drugs and avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

        Its current half-hour show, Prom Madness, covers topics such as date rape, peer pressure, mixing alcohol and pills, abusive relationships, teen pregnancy and self-esteem. It was presented to all students at both high schools last week and community groups this week as part of Substance Abuse Awareness Week.

        “The message is always abstinence-based,” said English teacher Sue Bateman, the group's director. “Our focus is always to stop or slow down the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.”

        Teens involved with the group say its effectiveness comes not from the message but from its presenters: classmates. Intermingled with the skits are relevant statistics from such organizations as the Centers for Disease Control.

        “We wanted to do it because no one else was doing it,” said senior Marc McEwan, 18. “We're motivated by something that touched us.”

        Added junior Beth Leedy: “Out of all the research done, we found peer-to-peer makes all the difference. It's better than having another adult coming into a classroom and telling you something is wrong.”

        The situations portrayed in the skits are familiar to most teens. In one, called “911,” a student taking medi cation for a medical problem starts drinking with his friends even though he knows he shouldn't. He goes into convulsions. His friends think his vomiting is because of drunkenness, so they delay calling 911. The boy later dies.

        “If we can reach one person, we've made a huge impact,” said senior Jenni Furia. “At every single show, someone comes up and says, "That was me. That was me.'”

        Next year the group plans to add skits on conflict resolution and school violence.

        Junior Rachel Fincher is one of 100 students who have been involved in this year's four shows, timed to homecoming, winter break, a workshop at the International Pride Convention and the preprom show.

        Neighboring high schools are frequently invited to the shows, and the group takes it message on the road.

        “I saw how it was making some people uncomfortable,” Rachel said. “It's so much better than sitting in desks listening to teachers. We're their peers!”

       



Musical is a wrenching tale of a full life
Campaign builds for Sabin expansion
Area gets friendlier to cyclists
Fort Washington Way shutdown to scramble west-bound traffic
FWW, I-75 closing on weekend
Police open fire on would-be robbers
Policeman quits amid allegations
Fairfield school sends Littleton bears and prayers
Schools see rash of incidents
UC defends human research
$8 million-plus a Fine Arts Fund record
'Bought' mayor debated
Fernald waste facing roadblocks
Hundreds rally against violence
Sentinels stand behind Shirey's decision
Man drowns; companion rescued at Caesar Creek
CCM sets stage for 2000
Family keeps up with three beats
Family survived without television
GET TO IT
'Henry Adams' tops list of century's best nonfiction
100 best works of 20th century nonfiction
Saturday services planned for Roger, Larry Troutman
Their first Communion
2nd aquarium exit requested
Boone Co. invites plan update
Butler makes present of its past
Clermont expects few voters
Farewell for 'Mr. Mason'
Grand jury gets DUI case
Health center closes after 70 years
Lebanon leaders bicker on bicentennial
Malpractice verdict to stand, judge says
Mariemont honors future museum site
No deal, foes of Warren Co. landfill say
OSU, OU settle dispute over 'Ohio'
- Skits carry message to classmates
St. Bernard schools try to fill vacancy
Trees are the stars of new park
TRISTATE DIGEST