Washington Union students create awareness campaign against drug abuse, head to competition

Jessica Harrington Image
Saturday, March 30, 2024
Washington Union students create campaign against drug abuse
Students at Washington Union High School are taking the battle against drug abuse into their own hands.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Students at Washington Union High School are taking the battle against drug abuse into their own hands.

Three teens have created an awareness campaign in hopes of keeping students safe.

Juniors Ashley Xiong, Jenny Sandee and Diana Viera started working on an awareness campaign last fall.

"We've seen a growing prevalence in the community and it has affected not only our family and friends but teenagers who didn't know about the real harm drugs that have on them," Xiong said.

They started by surveying classmates about their knowledge of drugs and their side effects.

"Not a lot of people knew where to find resources on campus," Xiong said.

In an effort to make resources easily accessible, they started an Instagram account with information.

They also put up posters they designed around campus.

"We want to kind of inform that these are people that need help and it's ok if you need help." Viera said.

They created and cut out bookmarks with resource information and passed them out at the downtown Fresno County Library and teamed up with their campus drug intervention specialist to create lunch activities.

One was "Trick or Trivia", testing student's knowledge.

"For each question they got right they would receive candy. If they answered the question incorrectly, they would receive a flyer from Prodigy on preventative resources." Sandee said.

Now, they're planning to showcase their hard work at the Future Health Professionals Student Leadership Conference.

With guidance from Steven Rizzo, the Director of Career Tech Education and Patient Pathway Coordinator Tony Pena, they've been compiling their work into a portfolio to present to judges.

They'll be taking part in the statewide competition in the community awareness category.

District Superintendent Randy Morris says students in the district face many of the same challenges as the state and nation.

"It's encouraging to see our kids taking this opportunity to make a push in an effort really to not only create awareness, but create awareness of resources and options for kids to get help when they need it." Morris said.

Ashley, Jenny and Diana are now putting their final touches on their campaign as they head into competition. They say they're nervous, but confident to face the judges.

"With enough practice we'll do just fine," Xiong said.

The young ladies head to the statewide competition in Southern California next week.

The top three teams from the statewide competition will advance to the nationwide competition in Texas.

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