At the recent national Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) conference in Boston, Mass., five Payson High School teens attended workshops, toured the historic city and learned about the power of fun.
"I really like the workshops they had at the conference because you got to learn about everything from natural highs to dangerous highs," said Ka Trina Reese, who is a senior this year.
Grace Springstead was impressed with a man who spoke on getting rid of discrimination.
"He used a lot of different voices and his point was just because you are different, you are not a bad person," Springstead said.
"I am really proud of these girls," said Abigail Pederson, SADD adviser.
The five girls raised more than $2,000 to attend the conference by hosting bake and smoothie sales and doing yard work over the summer break.
"The conference was ultra super fun," Reese said.
Her favorite part was the Freedom Trail Tour which included sightseeing at Paul Revere's house, seeing where the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought and the battleship ship, the USS Constitution, better known as Old Ironsides because during the War of 1812 cannon balls were deflected by its sturdy sides.
Arizona won the Spirit Stick award at the conference. The Spirit Stick is awarded by the SADD national and student leadership councils to state participants who are incredibly helpful, polite, interested courteous and excited about SADD.
Springstead said she and her friends did not so much learn new strategies for making good decisions as "getting hyped about next year."
This is the eighth school year the SADD program will be a part of PHS and Pederson participated in SADD as a student in 1999.
"This year SADD is all about creating hope and purpose for PHS students," Pederson said. "We want to provide positive risk alternatives such as getting involved, being a leader, standing up for what you believe in."
A precept of SADD states that students can be true to themselves by not allowing drugs, alcohol or other destructive decisions get in the way. The first SADD meeting will be sometime the second week of August.
For more information on SADD locally, contact Pederson at (928) 468-8055 ext. 3838. The national Web site is www.SADD.org.
-- To reach Carol La Valley call 474-5251 ext. 122 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.