Tuesday, September 8, 2009

ReaLiz: Breaking stereotypes

Any other morning would have started with the sound of Mr. Sherman talking about the wonderful, but confusing human anatomy. Instead I started off with my own anatomy feeling off balance. My stomach was in a whirl, it didn't feel like I had butterflies in my stomach, but more like giant and fluttering birds. Last Wednesday, Sept. 2, I marked my first Students In Prevention presentation. A presentation that took a summer of preparation.
Students in Prevention (SIP), is a peer to peer drug education and prevention program, where two high school juniors from each high school is chosen to dedicate 6 weeks of their summer to learning and teaching about the many dangers of drug use. The program is exclusive to San Joaquin County, and I was fortunate enough to receive the chance to be one of those peer educators. As a program we usually present to elementary schools, but my partner Nou and I had our first presentation at our very own Stagg High School.

Before the highly anticipated presentation began in Mr. Hiddle's drivers ed and health class, we were warned that this would be our toughest presentation, that high school students really didn't care to learn about the true dangers of drug use, but that most importantly high school students are too busy using drugs to even care what their very own peers had to say. I am proud to say that my partner and I showed all these stereotypes to be false.

So as one of the six presentations began first period, faces of complete boredom looked back at my absolute nervous self. We started our presentation with a pre-questionnaire, which asked students to answer true and false questions, as well as asking questions that require their very own opinion. Going over these questions was possibly one of the most interesting parts of the whole presentations. One of the first questions asks if a shot of hard liquor, a glass of wine, and a glass of beer all have the same amount of alcohol. When we asked the students to share what answers they chose, most of them said it was false. It was surprising for them to learn that this statement is actually true. Their jaws dropped with refusal when my partner and I told them that a shot of hard liquor had the same amount of alcohol as does a mug of beer, this being because even though there is more fluid in a mug of beer, that just means that there are more ingredients.

As the presentation moved on to topics of the addiction process, a four-phase process that a person goes through when becoming dependent on a substance, and family roles, roles within a family that are adopted as a result of an addiction, the faces of the students lit up. They laughed along as we had students come up and apply props to the character they were adopting.

By the end of the day, my throat was in desperate need of about a gallon of water and my feet felt as though I had walked for about three days straight. I must say that after this day, I realized why teachers are always so tired. But most importantly I realized that students do actually want to learn about the effects of drugs. There are people who think that all high school students want to do is ignore those who are trying to teach them. Sadly this is a stereotype that follows until we hit our later adulthood. In my English class, we brought up the fact that with every generation, people will always look down on the teenagers and say that they are wilder and less caring than the ones of generations past. I am sorry to inform many adults that teenagers do actually care about some things, it may not be all the time, but we do care once in a while.
-Lissette...one of those teenagers who actually cares
Here is a video about our summer SIP training: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tju2meklq1k we sent it to the Ellen show.


  1. I appluad for this, you did a great job. You didn't look nervous, and you seemed to look like an expert about the topic.

  2. bahahaha, you couldn't close the frige!(watch the video!)