June 2006   The View - Volume IV, No. 9

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The Boys' Varsity Soccer Team took first place in the CIF Division II competition held in March. They beat Scripps Ranch 1- 0 to clinch the title. Read article...


It is with bittersweet emotions that I say farewell to the Westview community. After thirty-eight years of teaching I feel blessed and honored to have served these last seven years in such a rewarding and fulfilling way. Both professionally and personally the work at Westview has been the most exciting and fulfilling of my career. I have learned much more than I have taught, received more than I have given, and have been fortunate to have worked with so many wonderful parents, teachers, staff members, and students. The Westview community is an exceptional and special place. I have found the people in this community to be extraordinarily kind, considerate, and committed to supporting education and to engaging in activities that promote a sense of community.

We all should be very proud of what our fine school has accomplished in its short history, including an excellent reputation for high academic standards and performance, competitive athletics, outstanding fine and performing arts, and tremendous parental involvement through the PTSA and Foundation.

I will always be thankful for the opportunity and the support that Poway Unified School District gave me for the work and effort that went into designing a high school that was suitable for the twenty-first century. Westview truly exemplifies the District core value of “All Students Learning, Whatever It Takes.” What Westview has accomplished has been the product of a tremendous team effort of students, parents, and staff pulling in the same direction and committed to a driving principle of doing what is best for students.

I feel I am stepping aside at a good time. The school is in a very good place and I look forward to the celebration at the graduation of our first freshman class, the Class of 2006. As our students celebrate their right of passage into adulthood, I will be celebrating passage to the next road in my journey. I look forward to spending time with my dear wife and children, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Finally, thank you to all that have supported the work and vision of Westview. It is that support from all the stakeholders that makes Westview what it is, a thriving learning community.

Jerry Leininger

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Inspirational Thought

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."       -- Lou Holtz

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Justin Scheid receives his Award of Excellence at the Annual California State PTA Convention


Honored at the Annual California State PTA Convention in Anaheim, on Saturday, May 13, was Justin Scheid, a 10th grade student at Westview (see photo above). He was a finalist for his age division and category and received an Award of Excellence for his Musical Composition, "I wonder...", which was performed by the Westview Wind Ensemble and Percussion and directed by Westview's Band Director, Jeri Webb.

To reach this level, Justin's entry first won the Award of Excellence at our local high school, then at the Palomar Council, Ninth District and California State PTA levels. His entry was then forwarded to the National PTA competition.

But that is not all……at the State Convention, Justin was informed that he had also received an Award of Excellence from National PTA (one of only 3 in the nation for his age division and category!). Justin will receive a silver medallion and $200 from National PTA.

Another proud moment was when our Westview Naval Junior ROTC posted and retired the colors at state convention!
What an honor!

Other Westview award winners include Patrick Silva, who received an Award of Excellence at Palomar Council for his poem entitled “I wonder why?” Celia Ma also received an Award of Excellence at Palomar Council and an Award of Merit at Ninth District for her charcoal drawing portraying the deadly outcome of people who drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Need something to do this summer? All Westview students are encouraged to participate in the Reflections program! Next year's theme is "My Favorite Place." In addition to Literature, Music, Visual Art and Photography, two new categories have been added: Dance/Choreography and Film/Video Production. Entry information can be found at Reflections.

The National PTA is looking for a theme for its next Reflections Program. A student's suggestion(s) for the theme ideas may be sent to your state office by the individual student or by a local PTA/PTSA. The theme may include a wide variety of subjects that will appeal to students in preschool through grade 12. The winning student will receive $100 and recognition at the National PTA Convention held in June 2007. See
Reflections for more information.

The National PTA Reflections Program is an arts recognition and achievement program for students. The Reflections Program provides opportunities for students to express themselves creatively and to receive positive recognition for original works of art inspired by pre-selected theme, while increasing community awareness on the importance of the arts in education.

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Westview Academic League Team Takes League Title!

Led by stalwarts Taylor Yi, Kara Skinner, Isaac Lew, Michelle Huang and Calvin Jeon, the Westview Varsity Academic League team blew through the competition in the North County Inland Division on the way to an undefeated regular season record.

With impressive wins over defending champion Mt. Carmel and new contender Escondido Academy, the Wolverines went into the County championships seeded third. After an opening round crushing of Mission Hills, the team lost a heartbreaker in the semifinals to San Dieguito Academy that saw a game-long lead evaporate in the final 5 minutes.

All in all it was a great season, with team members Kimberly Griffith, Amelia Lucisano, Evan Yang, Jon Tarn, Julia Zhu, Will Wen and Karthik Kothandapani contributing to the teams success. As juniors, Taylor and Isaac hope to lead the team to bigger and better things next year.

The JV team finished the season undefeated as well, with Dylan Shinzaki and Sandy Truong playing key roles in the team's success. Coach Scott Strachan rotated a talented group of underclassmen through as the team rolled up successive wins over arch-rivals Mt. Carmel, Rancho Bernardo and Poway. The JV squad also made it to the playoffs, where they were bounced from the competition by Torrey Pines. But, after the match, team cheerleader Tim Han summed up the feeling of the team when he said “That which doesn't kill us will make us stronger”. Some of the team members hope to make the varsity team next year.

The frosh team, under head coach Dave Skinner (proud father of 4-year varsity standout Kara) saw his team win all their matches except a desperate showdown against Rancho Bernardo. Some of the top members were Radhika Agarwal, Vincent Le, Willie Yao and Allison Han. Coach Skinner emphasized fundamentals, and the team showed steady progress throughout the season. Coach Skinner was so impressed with the group he may continue coaching even though his daughter is graduating.

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Have a great summer!


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Westview Boys Swim & Dive Team took first place in the CIF Division II competition. Pictured left to right are Chris Rancourt, Charlie Torres, Darren Goff, Ethan Hatch, Spencer Holland, Justin Kerr, Blaze Syka, Jimmy Zhu, Joey Earnest and Jonathon Inman. Coach Jake Siegfried is in front.  Not pictured is Cody Walwick
(see article below)


It is hard to believe another Westview school year is almost over! Thank you to each and every parent, teacher and student member who has helped make it a wonderful year at Westview. In reviewing the nine goals that Westview PTSA adopted last September, we have been very successful in achieving them!

During May, we distributed granola bars to the STAR testing students and hosted a luncheon for the teachers and staff for Teacher Appreciation Week -- thank you Laura Wilson, Hospitality Chair, and all of her committee for the fabulous job you did!

Our Student/Staff Recognition Night was held on May 30 -- another great night of recognizing students and staff for the positive contributions they make to our school. Thank you, Colleen Salzetti, for chairing this event. Soon we will be announcing our Senior Scholarship Award recipients!

And let's talk Grad Nite. What a wonderful committee of dedicated volunteers who have raised funds and planned every detail for our 2006 Grad Nite. Once again, those that choose to will have a fun and safe drug-free, tobacco-free and alcohol-free evening to celebrate a significant milestone with their classmates and friends. Plans are already in the works for Grad Nite 2007! Cindy Kodama will be in charge as our new Vice President-Grad Nite. We're looking for volunteers! Contact her at debk@pacbell.net to volunteer for this great event.

By the way, we had a really fun fundraiser for Grad Nite called Grad Nite Parent Nite. Hosted by this year's chair, Shannon Rockcastle, it was an evening of great music by a live band, "The Abiding Dudes", food and drinks (all donated!), a 50/50 raffle ($472 won by Doug Ray) and door prizes. Get your name on the invitation list for this fun fundraiser that is planned again for 2007 Grad Nite!

Our PTSA board needs volunteers -- there are several appointed board positions open. Please call or email me to find out which positions are open and what they entail. If you have never been on a PTA board before, it's not a prerequisite. It's never too late to get involved in your child's education -- and no better way than PTSA!

Have a wonderful summer!

Carolyn Epple
PTSA President

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Congratulations Westview PTSA!

The 2005-2006 Westview PTSA board has done a spectacular job this year supporting the Grad Nite Committee, administering Mock PSAT, SAT and ACT tests, helping with registration, and sponsoring Student Staff Recognition Night.

They have done an excellent job communicating with parents through the website, newsletter, local newspaper, and e-mails, presenting college readiness seminars, supporting anti-drug and driver safety programs for the students and parents, and promoting the Reflections program.

Also, by supporting the Character Counts program, creating and distributing the student directory and program book, awarding senior scholarships, supplying the staff with grants for school supplies and equipment, selling Westview T-Shirts, and supporting WASC (the accreditation of our new school by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges), we now see the fruits of their labor!

The following National, State, Ninth District, and Palomar Council PTA awards were presented to the Westview PTSA for the 2005-2006 school year:

●  National and State Reflections 'Award of Excellence - musical composition' was awarded to Westview student, Justin Scheid for 'I Wonder…”

●  State “5 in 05 Membership Increase”

●  State “Early Bird and Chairman's Club Membership Award”

●  District "Collaborators Award" for Program Books

●  District and Council "Outstanding High School Program Book" Award

●  District and Council "Best Program Book Overall" Award

●  District "Outstanding Unit President" was awarded to Carolyn Epple, Westview PTSA President

●  Council "1% AND 5% membership Increase" Award

●  Council "Recognition for Supporting Council's 2005-2006 Membership Goals"

Thank you, Westview PTSA and all those that serve, for the wonderful support you give the students and staff at Westview, making it the great school it is.

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CIF Championship Swim Team with
(in back) Assistant Coach Tom Beam (L) and Head Coach Jake Siegfried (R)


Westview Boys' Swim and Dive Team are the CIF Division II Champions for 2006.

Eleven boys qualified for CIF this year, and although none of the swimmers won first place in an event, they won by racking up the points with 2nd and 3rd places in many events.

Diver Cody Walwick placed 5th at the CIF championships. It is only his first year of diving, and his prior experience in the sport was only for a couple months back in the fifth grade. He came to the team with only 3 dives, and now has a full dive list. At the competition, Cody was very consistent on his dives, and received good scores. He scored a total of 250.35 points, which is consistent with his other 11 dive scores and very hard to accomplish for a first year high school diver. He definitely contributed to the team's first place finish for the boys, and it is great that he can be a part of Westview history.

Here are the 2006 CIF Division II results for Westview:

●  200 yd. Medley Relay - 2nd place

●  200 yd. freestyle - Darren Goff 3rd place, Justin Kerr 4th place

●  50 yd. freestyle - Ethan Hatch 3rd place

●  1 meter diving - Cody Walwick 4th place

●  100 yd. butterfly - Ethan Hatch 2nd place

●  100 yd. freestyle - Darren Goff 3rd place

●  200 yd. freestyle relay - 2nd place

●  100 yd. backstroke - Justin Kerr 2nd place

●  400 yd. relay - 2nd place

Ethan Hatch was presented with The CIF Sportsmanship Award.

Overall, Westview's score was 185 points, with 2nd place Valhalla 172 points.

Congratulations, Boys' Swim and Dive!!!

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The Annual ENS Westview

On June 12 and June 13, about 800 Westview students will be participating in the 4th Annual Westview Triathlon.

This year's triathlon will act as a fundraiser that will allow the ENS department to expand their program so that they can offer classes that are interesting to the students and that support the vision of the ENS Department.

The Westview ENS department needs some help with several things to insure that this event continues to be a positive experience for the Westview community.

1. Corporate sponsorships and or donations by way of prizes, goodie bag items, and/or consumable product on the race days.
2. Volunteers to help work the event.
3. Supporting a participant.

Please visit the Westview Triathlon Website.

If you have any questions or would like to help out, please contact Steve McLaughlin at smclaughlin@powayusd.com or by phone at (858) 780-2000 ext. 3281

So far this years sponsors include:
Frogs Fitness, Clif Bar, Coca Cola, Soup Plantation, Brilliant Marketing, Hollywood Video, Submarina, Competitor Magazine, West Photo Labs, and Office Depot.

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Teachers Keith Opstad and Bob McHeffey with their presenters (Eric Wilcox, left, and Jared Bird, right) at The Crystal Apple Awards

Crystal Apple Awards

In appreciation for area High School educators who have demonstrated true dedication to their profession, students and leaders from the community, schools and the local congregations of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints joined to recognize eight teachers for the 2nd Annual Crystal Apple Awards on May 16, 2006.

Honored that evening with a Crystal Apple Award were Mr. Bob McHeffey and Mr. Keith Opstad from Westview. Presenting the awards to the teachers were seniors Jared Bird and Eric Wilcox.

Also receiving awards were Jose Campo and Kenneth K. Matson from Mt. Carmel High; Tom Eberman and Julia Polanco from Scripps Ranch High; and Mike Maheu and Dale E. Thomas from Mira Mesa High. Also in attendance that evening were Westview Principal Jerry Leininger, Mt. Carmel Principal Tom McCoy, Scripps Ranch High Principal Donna Campbell; Mira Mesa High Vice Principals Virginia Sturgeon and Dean Wong, T.J. Zane of the Rancho Penasquitos Town Council and Woo-Jin Shim from Scott Peter's office.

The Crystal Apple Award is unique as the teachers were nominated and chosen by approximately 150 students in the area - students who attend an hour long early morning religious class before high school each day. The ceremony was emceed by Channel 7's Consumer Editor Bob Hansen. The students provided special musical entertainment for the evening and made the actual award presentations to the teachers, presenting each with an engraved crystal apple. A student essay was written about each teacher, expressing appreciation for their teaching excellence and the strong values they bring into their classroom. Please see photo above.

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The Westview Girls' Softball Team
CIF Division II Champions 2006
(see article below)

In This Issue

Principal's Message

PTSA President's Message

Academic League

Boys' Swim & Dive - CIF Champs

Choir Concert

Counselors' Corner

Crystal Apple Awards

Deer Canyon Teacher to Retire

Drug & Alcohol Free Prom, Graduation

Exchange Students

Girls' Softball - CIF Champs

Girls' Track

Grad Nite Preview

Health Coverage

Inspirational Thought

Medication Pick-Up

Reflections - State Winner!

Registration Help Needed

Safe & Drug Free Prom, Grad Nite

Senior Scholarships


Westview PTSA Awards

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Westview Girls' 400m Relay Track Team member (l-r) Jennifer Schell, Caitlin Sutherland (alternate), Lauren Kodama, Sharley Cotter, and Rachel Lofton. They made a new school record of 48.37 seconds at CIF Finals

Girl's Track - CIF

In CIF Division II Track Finals, the Girls' Team placed 2nd, coming in behind University City. Everyone made a great effort. The 400m Relay team placed fourth in the city. The top three teams go to state - they missed 3rd place by .3 seconds! It was disappointing for the girls, but they did their best. Setting a new school record was some consolation! Congratulations, Girls' Track!

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Girls' Softball Wins CIF

Westview Girls' Softball won the CIF Division II Softball Championship at San Diego State field, beating out Scripps Ranch 4-1.

The victory gives Westview its second CIF Softball Championship. The first came in the school's first year of existence, 2003. There are six seniors on Westview's team who played on the 2003 championship team - Janae Portugal, Gracey Sanchez, Jessica Ziegler, Katie Catrombone, Brittany Rock and Sam Yoboud. Along with the two CIF championships, the team has also won two League Titles. Congratulations, Girls' Softball and coach Kelly Warner!

Health Office Notice: Medication Pick-Up

Please arrange for your child's medication to be picked up from the health office by the last day of school. All medications that are not picked up by the last day of school will be discarded.

I hope you and your family have a safe and healthy summer.

Lauren Scott
Health Office

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We are already planning for Fall Registration and we need your help. Volunteers are needed to assemble registration packets, distribute registration packets, and help at registration. Please review the dates and times listed below and volunteer to help on one of the dates. Email Colleen Salzetti at cjsalz@san.rr.com with the dates and times you can work or if you have any questions.

Wed. August 2nd - Packet stuffing begins at 8am

Wed. August 9th - Drive Through Packet Pick-up from 4-6pm

Thurs. August 10th - Drive Through Packet Pick-up from 7-9am

Fri. August 11th - Senior Class Registration (8am - 12pm)

Mon. August 14th - Junior Class Registration (8am - 12pm)

Tues. August 15th - Sophomore Class Registration (8am -12pm)

Thurs. August 17th - Freshmen Class Registration (8am -12pm)

Fri. August 18th - Freshmen Class Registration (8am -12pm)

Mon. August 21st - Registration Make-up (8am - 12pm)

Thurs. August 24th - Help with registration in office on 1st day of school (7am-9am)

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Exchange Students

Homes are needed to host a H.S. Exchange Student from Spain (Basque) June 29-July 28. The student speaks English, has activities planned and can share a room. We can work around vacations. For more information on this fun and rewarding experience please call STEP@858-486-4121.

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Dennis Bueker to Retire!!

Long-time Deer Canyon Elementary 5th grade teacher, Dennis Bueker, will retire at the end of this year. Dennis has been teaching for 38 years, 16 of those years at Deer Canyon.

Dennis Bueker and Mike Fickel, another PUSD educator, are the co-founders of the Ride Across California. This Spring Break event, designed to build confidence and endurance in 5th graders, is a 280+ mile, 6 day, bike ride across California; originating at the Colorado River (Yuma, Arizona) and culminating at the Pacific Ocean (Carlsbad State Beach). This year marked the Ride's 16th anniversary.

Please join us for one last ceremonial bike ride in Dennis' honor. Bring your bike, your helmet, and your energy and meet outside Deer Canyon at 5:15pm on Friday, June 16. After the short ride, a celebration will be held in the school multi-purpose room from 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Purchase your last “Friday ice cream” from Dennis for $2.00!

We are also looking for photos of Dennis with his students; on his many bike rides, trekking Mt. Woodsen, building soma cubes, making candles, etc. Please email them to Annette Abadi at annetteabadi@mac.com.

Finally, a scholarship fund is being started in Dennis' name through the YMCA (the sponsor of the Ride Across California). To contribute, send checks to YMCA, San Diego County, attn: Joe Lillie, 9410 Fairgrove Ln, San Diego, CA 92129. Please designate in the check memo for “Bueker Bike Scholarship.” Or you may drop off your contribution at the Deer Canyon office. Checks should be made out to the YMCA.

Questions? Please contact Jana Rossi, manhattanacc@earthlink.net or Kristi Sherwood, ksher@san.rr.com.

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Choir Director Barbara Fletcher and Choir members at Poway Choir Festival

Choral Concert

A Night With Disney
Friday June 2nd - 7 p.m.
Monday June 5th - 7 p.m.

Westview's Choral Music Department presents for the community “A Night With Disney”! Join us on Friday June 2nd and Monday June 5th at 7 p.m. for an evening of fun family entertainment. Children are welcome!

Everyone will enjoy hearing their favorite Disney tunes. Experience a show of singing, dancing and brilliant costumes. General seating tickets ($5.00) will be sold at the door starting at 6:15 p.m.

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Senior Scholarships

The Westview PTSA Senior Scholarship committee recently had a very pleasant, but difficult, task - choosing the winners of three $750 scholarships from the 19 applicants. After careful consideration, the winners have been chosen.

They are Victoria Burton, Erin Wehner and Carl Diaz. The choices were hard to make! Congratulations to the winners and all the other applicants.

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Westview's AP Award's Night was held on June 1st. This year, we had a record number of students taking the AP examinations with over 1,300 tests given this year. In comparison, Rancho Bernardo High School administered 1,300 tests with a total population of 779 more students than Westview. Next year, we anticipate that 1,400-1,500 tests will be administered to our students.

The University of California has awarded Westview students with the prestigious honor of Regents and Chancellor Scholarships. These awards are given to a very select group of students who demonstrate outstanding intellectual and personal abilities and exceptional potential. Please help us in congratulating the following Wolverines:

Victoria Burton - UC Irvine
Wynne Chyou - UC Berkeley
David Govea - UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara
James Holmes - UC Riverside
Michelle Huang - UC Los Angeles
Jonathan Inman - UC Davis, UC Irvine
Elizabeth Kung - UC Davis
Alexandra Rex - UC Berkeley
Janna Serbo - UC Berkeley, UC Irvine
Jonathan Tarn - UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC San Diego
Jessica Tsai - UC Berkeley, UC Irvine
Julia Zhu - UC Berkeley

June 2 - No checks accepted from seniors after this date
June 3 - Prom - “Imagine” to be held at Hilton Mission Bay Resort
June 5-9 - Seniors record graduation messages for their parents to be played during the pre-ceremonies at graduation
June 6 - Senior Awards Reception
June 14 - Senior Yearbook Distribution
June 14-16 - Senior Final Exams
June 15 - Senior Check-Out Begins
June 19 - Senior Breakfast in the plaza in front of the theater
June 20 - Senior Picnic at Views West Park
June 21 - Graduation and PTSA Grad Nite!


If your son or daughter applied to summer school, the wait is almost over! Students will learn if they have been accepted into summer school on the last day of school, June 21, 2006. A list will be posted both at Westview and Mt. Carmel, as well as on each website.


We all experience some level of anxiety before a test. A little nervousness can actually help motivate us to perform our best. However, too much anxiety can become a problem if it interferes with your performance on tests. Listed below are some strategies for dealing with test anxiety:

Before the Test:

●  Be prepared. Study the material in advance; do not leave cramming for the day before your test. Do not do a last minute review.

●  Get plenty of sleep. It is hard to function at your best when overtired.

●  Avoid any use of drugs and alcohol. They can interfere with your mental ability.

●  Exercise. This may help to increase your alertness and sharpen your mind.

●  Have a moderate breakfast. Fresh fruits and vegetables help reduce stress; avoid caffeine, sugar and junk foods.

●  Allow yourself plenty of time. Arrive at the test location early.

●  Choose a seat where you will not be easily distracted.

●  Use abdominal breathing to help reduce anxiety. Place one hand on your abdomen, right beneath your rib cage. Inhale through your nose and feel your abdomen fill like a balloon … count to three on your inhalation and then slowly exhale, counting to four, feeling your abdomen contracting with the exhalation.

●  Use positive affirmations. Say a phrase to help keep things in perspective, “I've done this before, I can do it again,” or “I have all the knowledge I need to get this done.”

During the Test Take a Few Minutes to:

●  Review the entire test. Read the directions carefully.

●  Work on the easiest portions of the test first.

●  Pace yourself. Do not rush through the test.

●  If you go blank, skip the question and go on.

●  Multiple choice questions: Read all the options first, eliminate the most obvious.

●  Essay questions: Make a short outline. Begin and end with a summary sentence.

●  Take short breaks, tense and relax your muscles throughout your body.

●  Pause, do a few abdominal breaths, say your positive affirmation.

●  Stay in the present moment.

●  There is no reward for being the first done.

After the Test, Reward Yourself:

●  Try not to dwell on your mistakes.

●  Indulge in something relaxing for a while.

If these test-taking anxiety strategies do not work for you, visit your school counselor or other health care professional.

* Courtesy of Freedom from Fear

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6:00-9:00 P.M.




This is your only chance to see the transformation
of the gym before Grad Nite

That night you are also invited to visit
and see how they have decorated for their Grad Nite


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Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities,
Tobacco Use Prevention Education, and Reducing Alcohol Abuse in High Schools

As the school year comes to an end across the United States, many teenagers will attend high school proms, celebrate high school or college graduations, and take trips to local beaches for senior week.

The combin
ation of an abundance of alcohol with young people celebrating the end of a school year, or even the end of high school, can lead to many problems. While many of these seniors and other teenagers expect to have rules-free, fun-filled celebrations with their friends, they may very well engage in risky behaviors, such as:

� Underage drinking
� Drug use
� Promiscuity and unprotected sex
� Impaired driving

Besides the risky behaviors listed above, teenagers may encounter other problems that are sometimes beyond their control. For instance, without adult guidance, teenagers may be at an increased risk for becoming victims of crimes such as theft, violence, injury, and rape.

But, parents can make a difference in preventing some of these behaviors by educating themselves about the activities teens are often exposed to during these late springtime celebrations.


Prom is usually the first event to mark the winding down of the school year. Students often spend months saving so they can rent luxurious limousines, eat at expensive restaurants, and wear fancy dresses and tuxedos.

While many students do not drive on prom night, underage drinking is still dangerous. Alcohol can damage brain cells, interact negatively with medications, and lead to loss of control and violence. Binge drinking can lead to loss of consciousness and alcohol poisoning, which often results in death.

Parents should point out ways for their teenagers to enjoy prom without alcohol. Many schools offer "afterprom" parties, which begin at the end of the dance and usually last until morning. Prom goers can win prizes.


High school and college graduations are such a special time for young people because their hard work has finally paid off with a diploma and the opportunity to move on to another part of their lives, which promises to be new and exciting. For many graduating seniors, it is a bittersweet time, when they may need to say goodbye to some of their school friends. Often, seniors head directly from their graduation ceremonies to parties to celebrate the promise of their new life. However, the focus of many of these parties is often drinking, specifically binge drinking.

One of the many concerns associated with graduation is impaired driving.
In 2000, between 50 and 60 percent of all fatal car crashes that occurred on weekends during prom and graduation season were alcohol related, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Senior Beach Week

Every year during the first 3 weeks or so of June, thousands of teenagers, particularly high school seniors, head to the beach to celebrate the summer and their newfound freedom. Many of these teenagers hope to spend the week lounging on the beach with their friends during the day and drinking at night. However, many of these teenagers also end up engaging in unprotected sex, binge drinking, and risking their personal safety while under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs.

What Can Parents Do?

Parents can help keep their teenagers safe during these upcoming activities by taking several important steps.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Talk with your child by calmly explaining your feelings about substance use and allow your child to talk about any questions or concerns he or she may have. Remember that communication involves not only speaking, but also listening to the child's opinions and emotions.

It is important that you let him or her know you do not approve of illicit drug and alcohol use because it is dangerous. Be firm, but nonjudgmental. Your child is too important to succumb to the risks of alcohol and drugs!

Be especially careful about letting your child drive or ride in a car with other teenagers during school-end events. Parents need to discuss all aspects of teenage driving with their children. You must set rules for your teenagers about talking on cell phones, carrying other teenagers as passengers, and curfews. Many States are beginning to legislate some of these issues through graduated driver licensing programs. It also is important for parents to ask their children where they will be at all times and what they will be doing.

Ask your child for specifics and find out how you can reach him or her at all times.

Be Involved

Be actively involved in your child's life. Parents can check to see if their child's school will be holding after-prom or after-graduation parties. If so, offer to volunteer some time and work to ensure that the party will appeal to students. If your community does not offer these alcohol-free parties, find out from school officials if it is feasible to create a task force of parents and teachers to plan a party.

In addition, talk with your child's transportation provider and emphasize that you expect him or her to forbid drinking. Check school policies for underage drinking and contact the person in charge at all places your child will be during the course of the night. If your child says he or she will be hanging out at a friend's house after prom, call that friend's parents to ensure they will be supervising and that they have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol and illicit drugs.

During Beach Week, accompany your child on his or her vacation, if at all possible. This way, you may be able to keep your child and his or her friends safe by discouraging them from giving in to any temptations they may have to use alcohol or illicit drugs. Young people will be less likely to experiment with these substances if parents are nearby.

If you are unable to go on the vacation with your child, talk with the parents of your child's friends to see if any of them can go on the trip and monitor the young people's activities.

Discuss Safety With Your Child

Even if your child resists alcohol and drugs, he or she is still at risk for becoming victimized by them. Emphasize the importance of watching out for careless, and possibly drunken, drivers and using the "buddy system" so that he or she is with at least one friend at all times. Encourage your child to call you at any time if he or she needs a safe ride home or for any other reason.

Also stress the need for teenagers to keep an eye on their beverages while out and never accept a drink from someone they do not know. "Date-rape drugs," such as GHB and Rohypnol, can be slipped into a  person's drink in mere seconds. The drugs are tasteless and odorless and the victim may not even be aware he or she is being drugged. These drugs cause the victim to lose consciousness or be unable to move so that a person can take advantage of him or her.

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Printable version of Health Coverage

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13500 Camino Del Sur, San Diego, CA 92129
Palomar Council of PTAs • Ninth District PTA, Inc. CCPTS