ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Ascension Public Schools launched its 6th annual prom and graduation safety campaign aimed at helping students stay safe and out of trouble.
Proms and graduations are meant to celebrate a major milestone in students' lives, but they are also a time when some make risky decisions.
Through many outreach efforts, the campaign encourages students to not use drugs or alcohol while celebrating prom or graduation.
"This initiative began with a grant from the Capital Area Human Services and has grown each year to include partnerships with law enforcement, local officials, and state agencies all committed to the safety of our students. The message is important for both students and their parents: 'Don't let one bad decision decide your future,'" said Superintendent David Alexander.
It's been a tough year for students and staff at St. Amant High School, whose prom is Saturday, April 8. They had to move to another campus when theirs flooded in August. But the Gators are back in The Swamp just in time to celebrate the end of a trying year.
Principal Mia Edwards is thrilled.
"We are really excited about it. We just announced our prom court this morning, so they are really looking forward to it," Edwards said.
The parties are likely to get started well before the last school bell rings on Friday, but Edwards is getting out ahead of the festivities with a serious message that students are finding hard to ignore, reminding them the dangers of drunk and distracted driving. The message is plastered on posters, flyers, and every school-issued computer.
"We want to be very intentional about helping them make good decisions," said Alexander. "We want them to have a great time at prom and graduation and all the things that are so much fun at the end of your high school days, but at the same time making responsible decisions."
On top of the campaign-created tools, which include posters, wrist bands for students attending prom, labels on containers holding prom flowers and tuxedo rental bags, Principal Edwards said teachers are sharing their own experiences and having open discussions with their students.
"You think that it's foolish and you might not be reaching them, but if we can reach just one and prevent an accident from happening to any of our kids parish-wide that would be a fantastic thing," said Edwards.
The following are prom and graduation dates for high schools in the parish:
- Donaldsonville High:
- Prom: Apr. 22
- Graduation: May 12
- Dutchtown High:
- Prom: Mar. 25
- Graduation: May 12
- East Ascension High:
- Prom: Apr. 1
- Graduation: May 11
- St. Amant High:
- Prom: Apr. 8
- Graduation: May 10
For more information about the campaign, visit www.apsb.org/publications.