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Mohonasen launches SADD chapter

A national organization, SADD once stood for Students Against Drunk Driving. Now, the organization has expanded its interests. According to the national Web site, the club's mission is "to provide students with the best prevention and intervention tools possible to deal with the issues of underage drinking, other drug use, impaired driving and other destructive decisions."

Mohonasen hasn't had an active chapter of SADD since about 2000. Special education teacher Ben Pierson was an informal advisor for the club eight years ago, and when he heard they were reactivating the program, he jumped in. Already, he said, membership of the new chapter is triple what it was and is benefiting from the help of several advisors.

"This club differs from something like a French club in that it is non-specific. It's a universal cause that all teachers from all disciplines and all students can get behind."

Culbert said he has a number of programs planned for the spring, especially when prom season begins.

"We're planning a multimedia show sponsored by MADD in April, and we'll have another mock DWI crash this year, which has a really effective message," said Culbert. "The crash will involve everyone from members of SADD to the theater department to local law enforcement and firefighters."

The students involved in SADD like to think they can be positive examples for others.

"I like to be involved," said Aviza, who also serves as a student representative on the board of education. "I want to be a role model for the younger kids in school."

For co-president Brittany Heermance, also a senior, being a part of SADD was a way to take a stand.

"A lot of the people I know do bad stuff," said Heermance. "I thought that being a part of SADD would be a way to combat that."

At Mohonasen, it seems discussion and awareness of potential problems might be the key to avoid them altogether.

"We've been lucky that nothing tragic has hit us in the recent past," said Pierson. "What we're doing is preventative."

At the Monday, Dec. 3 meeting, the Mohonasen Board of Education voted unanimously to recognize the SADD chapter as an official school club.

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