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Drinking study reveals hard facts

Some Shen students enjoying festivities at an After Prom Party hosted by CAPTAIN. The parties have been a tradition for 28 years, and are billed as a safe way for students to celebrate. A survey from the Shenendehowa Community Coalition has revealed trends in drinking amongst students above the national average. Photo submitted.

Some Shen students enjoying festivities at an After Prom Party hosted by CAPTAIN. The parties have been a tradition for 28 years, and are billed as a safe way for students to celebrate. A survey from the Shenendehowa Community Coalition has revealed trends in drinking amongst students above the national average. Photo submitted.

— The Coalition also found 27 percent of juniors and seniors and 10 percent of freshmen and sophomores consume alcohol at public events.

Williamson said the Coalition is looking at the numbers with an eye towards improving them.

“The findings were very encouraging. We can look at our data from 2008 compared to 2011 and say that our numbers are down overall and that’s fantastic,” he said.

He added that public awareness is likely the reason for the decline.

“Public awareness especially in the school district has risen thanks in part to this collaboration. We’re lucky to experience the partnership that we do have with the school district,” Williamson said.

Some ways awareness is promoted through the school includes poster campaigns and messages to parents.

Shenendehowa High School Principal Don Flynt has been working with the Prevention Council for the last decade and said the study was important to not only to get to the cause of the issues, but also to “ameliorate the issues.”

“Knowledge is power. Hopefully we’ve given them power to make better decisions. … The coalition has done a great job in bringing groups and resources together,” he said.

Those better decisions are helped along by events like After Prom parties hosted by CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services.

Andy Gilpin, director of program services at CAPTAIN, said they have been offering the parties for 28 years that have taken many forms, including bowling parties or trips to the mall. This year, both the junior and senior parties will be held at the YMCA following the proms from midnight to 3a.m.

The parties were one of the first objectives of CAPTAIN, providing a “positive alternative” to kids for after prom.

“The parents know and the students know that from 12 to 3 that they’re going to be in a safe environment. …We’re really taking an active way to try and stop underage drinking,” said Gilpin.

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