SADD chapter aims to continue growing

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Whitehall High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter has announced a new logo and its 2022-2023 officers. NYVTmedia spoke with president Louis Pratt and vice president Blake Bird about their goals. The group will also be heading to Florida in a couple of weeks for a conference.

“We built up the foundation of our chapter this last year because of Covid and everyone that was in SADD before graduated,” Pratt said. “We’ve kind of rebuilt our own chapter and learned a lot from the last year especially at the conference we are attending in a few weeks.”

Pratt worked with physical education teacher Christina Wilson on creating a new and improved logo for the chapter and he said that he’s excited to see the branding become stronger with it.

“We said that we wanted to make a logo unique for ourselves. I have a lot of personal experience working with design and after speaking with our advisor (Wilson), we had three options and we decided on this one. Another student helped digitalization, we finalized it on Sunday, and it’s exciting to see it out there,” he said.

“…it’s ours for the years to come and it’s kind of like a legacy in its own sense.”

Pratt and Bird are both upcoming seniors and are looking forward to the coming year. One thing they are hoping to have continue growing is the number of students involved in the chapter.

“We’re going to be helping the people coming up and we’re hoping we will be able to influence them to keep this going,” Bird said.

Whitehall SADD has established a presence in the Whitehall community through many different outlets. From putting stickers on alcohol at Putorti’s Market as a pledge not to sell to minors, to positive post-it notes, and even having booths at local festivals, the chapter has become more involved with the community and its businesses.

“Being present at those events shows that we really care about what we’re promoting. We could always be like ‘Eh, whatever,’ but SADD being at events like that shows that we want to get the message out there and we care about our community,” she said.

One of the initiatives Whitehall SADD promoted this year was about e-cigarettes and vaping. On June 24, the FDA banned Juul e-cigarettes which played a large role in teen vaping issues. Both Bird and Pratt agreed saying that the ban is a step in the right direction.

“In the past we’ve seen the use of cigarettes go down, but with vapes, Juul, e-cigarettes, it’s damaging the progress we’ve made getting kids away from tobacco… Juuls are popular, and a lot of people want to do it because it’s popular,” she said.

“In the end, it’s saving lives because we don’t really know what they could lead to in the future,” Pratt added.

Aside from drinking and smoking, there has been increased mental health awareness. Bird said that there’s a lot that goes on not only in life, but in the minds of students and they look to provide helpful resources students can access. Pratt said that mental health awareness is something that is of high importance to him.

“Blake and I joined SADD together and being able to promote mental health made me eager to join. I’ve learned that there’s more to it than mental health and it’s amazing to see how this one organization can do so much to help,” he said.

Both Pratt and Bird said they felt the seats of president and vice president coming their way, so it wasn’t a shock. But they are glad that they can be a part of the organization and watch it grow.

“We really got out there this year! We still have the heart-shaped positive post-it notes on the wall at school… at the end of this year, we saw quite a few people join and I think a goal for next year is to keep the train rolling. Then once Louis and I leave, we want to see them continue on and not stop,” Bird said.

“I think we’ve done a lot this year and we have built our foundation and now expanding on it is going to be great to see… with our campaigns, we have learned a lot about what is successful and what’s not. With the sticker shock we did at Putorti’s and putting them on the alcohol, we brought 1000 stickers and we thought it was too many, but we ran out. We see and we learn,” Pratt added.

With a conference trip to Florida in the next couple of weeks, Pratt and Bird are ready to not only learn more ways to get SADD out in the community, but also see Disney. Pratt said it’s his first time going to Florida and both he and Bird are glad they get to bond with other SADD members over the summer.

“It’ll be great to connect with people who have the same mindset of wanting to change our society and during our teens,” Bird said. “It’ll also be great to hang out with the people I don’t always get to hang out with outside of school and get to know them better.”

“Stay tuned! There’s a lot in the works and good stuff is coming,” Pratt said.