The current reigning Miss Sunrise Side, Paige Lewandowski, believes strongly in her winning platform, Raising Youth's Potential. That's why she chose to plan a week-long observance at her school, Posen High School, that put the focus squarely on making good decisions versus bad ones.
"I organized this event with great pride under the supervision of teacher Hannah Pontius because it was directly correlated with my platform of Raising Youth's Potential," Lewandowski said. "The event was a huge success compared to past year's."
Beginning on March 21 and continuing throughout the week, the students received daily and creative reminders of the consequences of such bad decisions as drinking and driving. On Monday, a crashed car was parked in front of the school with a sign attached stating, "Don't let this be your last ride."
Paige Lewandowski, the current reigning Miss Sunrise Side, addresses the student body during a talk on the consequences of making bad decisions. She organized the whole event.
Also on Monday, all staff and students in grades K-12 signed a paper for a chain of life that linked together the school family.
On Tuesday, the poem "Death of an Innocent" was read seventh hour throughout the high school. On Wednesday, every 48 minutes one student had a teardrop painted on their face and was unable to talk for the hour. Afterwards, a tombstone was placed in the hallway stating the bad decision they had made that caused their "death."
Dum Dum suckers were given out on Thursday to each student with 15 different slogans against bad decisions. The messages included "Don't drive intexticated," "Friends don't let friends drink and drive" and "Hugs not drugs."
Three guest speakers talked to students in grades 7-12 on Friday about stories and experiences they had. The speakers included Ted Beck from Beck's Funeral Home of Rogers City, Sgt. Darin Rabeau of the Rogers City Sheriff's Dept. and Lewandowski.
"Choices and their consequences determine the course of every person's life. All people, whatever their circumstances, make choices, but in the end our choices make us," Lewandowski told the students during her talk. "Everyone in this world is responsible for who they are today. It doesn't make you a bad person if you make a bad decision. Any type of person can make a bad choice.
"Everyone makes mistakes, but I want you to know that when you make a mistake there will always be a consequence that comes along with it," Lewandowski said. "Some consequences in life you cannot change. Some of your decisions may not ever even affect you. If one of you were to pass away in a drunk driving accident this evening you will never suffer the consequences of your choices. We will. Your family, your friends, your community. We will suffer."
A lock-in also was held from 9 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday. Participating kids played games throughout the night, including basketball tournaments, volleyball games, zumba and drunk driving obstacle courses. Also featured were two meals along with snacks and many prize giveaways.
"Over $600 was donated from local businesses to help make the event possible," Lewandowski said. "I was truly blessed with all of the support and had great feedback from the children indicating the week of events really opened their eyes."