POSTED: Monday, July 1, 2013 - 1:00am
UPDATED: Monday, July 1, 2013 - 1:04am
DENHAM SPRINGS, LA — The Denham Springs High School Chapter of SADD (Students Against Destruction Decisions) has been chosen the National Chapter of the Year, and its student leaders and school sponsors will be honored at organization’s national conference in Orlando, Fla., this week.
The Denham Springs chapter, known as JADD – Jackets Against Destructive Decisions – is being praised for exemplifying “the power of young people to make a difference in their community,” according to SADD National President and CEO Penny Wells.
“Our panel of judges found particularly impressive your chapter’s varied and comprehensive schedule of activities, your chapter leaders’ creativity and commitment to fully utilizing chapter members’ talents, your chapter’s persistent pursuit of improvement in chapter effectiveness, your enthusiasm and sense of fun, and finally, your commitment to the SADD mission and principles,” Wells said.
“Denham Springs High School SADD exemplifies our idea of a successful SADD chapter,” she said. “We believe your chapter has much to offer as an example to SADD chapters across the country.”
In the award application form, JADD members noted that the club sponsors a variety of activities, campaigns and opportunities to serve others. In particular, JADD sponsors the school’s annual Prom Fashion Show, which reminds teens and parents that they can have fun without drugs and alcohol. Other events include Breakfast with Santa, the Homecoming After-Party, and a summer camp for elementary children that focuses on preventing underage drinking.
“We do an excellent job of matching student abilities/interests to programs, and also making sure our members grow as they work on our projects,” said Elise LeBlanc, a JADD teacher sponsor.
“We are the most diverse club on campus. It is not uncommon for us to have football players, special needs students and JADD alum working side by side.”
Shannon Donze, a JADD teacher sponsor, said club members volunteer for the school’s sophomore orientation, open house and red ribbon week activities. They also set up information booths on the campus to educate and inform their classmates of the dangers of tobacco and alcohol use.
“Our members are not afraid to take a stand. They have intervened when students were being bullied, they have reported underage drinking at football games, and they have reported drug use at school,” Donze said. She noted that the JADD members are discrete about their interventions, but even so, they do the right thing knowing that sometimes there are negative repercussions.
Jessica Raymond, a JADD teacher sponsor, said the club recently was involved in developing SADD leadership at the state level. The school’s members helped to form a Livingston Parish SADD Chapter to work with other parish chapters for statewide efforts.
“What makes our chapter powerful is our ability to make connections and form bonds. This helps us find resources and spread our mission,” she said.
Those JADD sponsors, students and alumni who travelled to Florida this week to receive the National Chapter of the Year Award, included DSHS teachers LeBlanc, Donze and Raymond; DSHS students Larry Davis, Jr., Dakota Brose, Austin Rogers, Brittany Abbott, Sarah Carlin, Carmen Coon, and Dylan Schueren; and DSHS JADD alumni Dylan Ivy and Kendall Pipes.