Seventeen high school students in teal STAND shirts became contestants on their version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" game show in the Chisholm Middle School gym on Jan. 8. Surrounded by the show’s theme music and sound effects, the contestants answered drug and alcohol abuse trivia questions, sometimes enlisting the help of the middle school audience.
The program turned upside down the stereotype of older students misguiding younger ones, as it was presented entirely by Mirror, Inc.’s STAND team, a high school alcohol and drug prevention group.
Seventeen members of the STAND board participated in the program at Chisholm. Lauren Thompson, Newton, said in her introduction that they each had personal reasons to join STAND, including encouragement to avoid negative influences, while wanting to build a “strong, hopeful, healthy community.”
“We care about each of you and want to give you knowledge and tools to make healthy decisions in the future,” Callie Considine, Halstead, told the middle school students.
Wyatt Hendrickson, Newton, acted as game show host. The educational trivia included local information, statistics on Harvey County marijuana use among middle schoolers (98 percent have not used in the last month), how many towns in the county have a STAND group (five) and gave a shout out to Norm’s Coffee Bar’s after school program.
A significant number of questions tested knowledge of the medical side of substance abuse. The correct answers chosen by the high school students from the multiple choices offered may have come as a surprise to the younger kids.
They learned that a marijuana edible gummy bear has a large enough dose for four people, that a JUUL pod has the same nicotine amount as 20 cigarettes and that marijuana smoke has 50 to 75 percent more carcinogens than tobacco.
Other facts included the legal and economic effects, such as the legalization of marijuana in Colorado has not decreased youth use and smoking one pack of cigarettes per day will cost an average of $50 per week.
True to the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" game, the STAND contestants were able to phone a friend from their team, reduce the answers with 50/50, and ask the audience with a show of hands by the middle schoolers.
Students received candy as the prize for reaching two price points, while the million-dollar prize for each student was a combination cell phone stand/keychain/screen cleaner that says “STAND - Stay Cool, Don’t JUUL.” Those who answered questions also received a STAND t-shirt.
Formerly known as Harvey County’s Youth As Resources (YAR), there are 120 high school students involved in STAND in Hesston, Halstead, Sedgwick, Burrton, Newton and Peabody, said Rachel Miner, Mirror Prevention Specialist. STAND members encourage themselves and others to stand up for what they believe, not giving in to peer pressure to use alcohol and drugs, and promoting positivity.
The STAND students performed their game show four times for different groups of Chisholm students.
“As you can see, we are passionate about this issue,” said Derek Rowley, from Sedgwick, in the conclusion. “We hope you will join us in STAND when you get to high school.”