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Partners in Education: Tackling Underage Drinking

Partners in Education: Tackling Underage Drinking

By Kasey Hott. CREATED Feb 20, 2012

Presented by Shopko Foundation:

De Pere, WI – It’s a startling statistic. Underage teens consume 15 percent of all alcohol sold in the United States, totaling almost $20 billion in sales. Many of those teens get behind the wheel, and sometimes, tragedy strikes. But two teens at West De Pere High School are working to change those statistics, one classmate at a time.

Mitchell Thyssen and Hailey Herrscher are sophomores at West De Pere, and proud members of the Brown County Leadership Program.

"A lot of it's about learning to become a good leader in your community, and what it involves to help out others,” said Hailey.

Each school year, students in the program work on a special project that will benefit the community. For Mitchell and Hailey, that means taking on the tough topic of underage drinking.

"It's a huge issue with highschoolers. There are a lot of bad things that happen because of it,” Hailey explained.

"We realized that the best way to reach most of our peers is through the television, because everybody watches TV nowadays,” said Mitchell.

The teens are leading a group focused on making a public service announcement that will air on local television. They hope the ad will make their friends think twice before making a decision that could affect their future.

"I'd just like them to know the facts behind drinking, and know that it's not just going to screw up your life, but also all of your friends that you could be harming as you go drinking, just because you want to have a good time,” Mitchell said.

"It can change your entire life,” said Hailey. “You could hurt someone, or yourself - and it can ruin your chances of doing something good."

The students say while speaking out against teen drinking might not always be popular, it’s worth it to share their message and make a difference in northeast Wisconsin.

The teens’ ad will air on local television stations towards the end of March, just in time for prom season. They’re hoping to create another PSA that will air right before graduation.