Prevention Scholarship Winners - 2020
The Safe Communities Coalition sponsored a Prevention Scholarship to Hunterdon & Somerset County, NJ current High School Students. Essays were accepted in both English and Spanish.
The Prevention Scholarship opportunity was offered to students in grades 9-12. Students were asked to view one of our 3 documentaries created by the SCC (“In a Split Second” (2011), “Pills to Heroin” (2013), and “Fentanyl Factor” (2019) and write a persuasive essay on the best way to prevent and reduce substance use in our community. The main goal of this project was for students to identify community’s strengths and concerns, which allow critical dialogue about important issues, such as substance use and mental health.
We would first like to thank all students that submitted essays. They were thoughtful, compelling, and well written. Essays were judged meticulously and anonymously by experts in the field of Substance Use Prevention. Judges were impressed by the level of insight from our young community members are on these important topics. Winners were not easily chosen and we encourage all applicants to continue their work in making our community a better place.
Prevention Resources, Inc. and the Safe Communities Coalition, along with sponsoring partners: Drug Free Taskforce, HC Chamber of Commerce, HC Prosecutors Office, One Voice of Hunterdon, and Positive YOUth would like to congratulate the following winners:
1st place, Olivia Artale, Senior at Hunterdon Central High School –Olivia wrote that watching the Fentanyl Factor was absolutely chilling,“It’s truly heartbreaking to see how addiction takes a hold of someone and not only can kill them but destroy the lives of so many people involved…. It was also especially eye opening to the fact that all the people interviewed in this film were all from or close to Hunterdon County. It became very real to me how possible addiction is and why I need to be careful and never try drugs. Not even once.”Olivia notes that while education is good, more can always be done; “Within Hunterdon Central I think in school detentions and cessationprograms should be put in place to help kids who have already tried drugs/vaping in order to helpthem stop.”
2nd place, Mackenzie Dilgard, Freshman at North Hunterdon High School – Mackenzie wrote an essay entitled “Making the Change, Saving Lives”, highlighting many of Hunterdon County’s strategies to reduceprescription drug misuse. Mackenzie referenced the vital steps that Hunterdon Medical Center has taken in reducing the number of opioids prescribed and monitoring opioid prescribing patterns in an effort to mitigate patients’ risk of becoming addicted. In addition, Mackenzie notes, “HunterdonCounty’s most valuable asset is informing and supporting schools. Oneway districts are doing sois by increasing the number of Student Assistance Counselors within the school, assigning onecounselor per grade”.
3rd place, Melissa Angley, Sophomore at Delaware Valley High School – Melissa’s essay, “Use Knowledge, Not Drugs” acknowledged that a major strength in drug control is due to the hardworking police enforcing laws in and out of schools.As Vice President of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Club at DelawareValley Regional High School, Melissa identifies the need for more support from the student body and more funding for speakers to come and talk personally about the experience of substance abuse. “It is important for the speakers to present true and emotionally impacting stories so the topic is retained seriously, which can expand the support for organizations that advocate for safe choices.”
4th place, Christian Palmisano, Junior from Voorhees High School – Christian’s essay, “Hunterdon County’s Fight Against Fentanyl and Opioid Abuse”, noted that the strongest aspect of Hunterdon County’s efforts to combat the rise of fentanyl is its tireless campaign to educate the public. “The very existence of ‘Fentanyl Factor’,among other films about drugs, is a testament to the efforts of Hunterdon County to arm the populace with information so that they can better avoid the abuse of fentanyl, other opioids, and drug abuse in general.”Christian also acknowledged, “When fentanyl receives the attention and eventual crackdown that other drugs like heroin and cocaine have undergone, it will be replaced by another drug that will also have to be exposed and regulated. But even if films like ‘Fentanyl Factor’ and the spreading of information regarding the over prescription of opioids are only able to stop one person from abusing and eventually overdosing on opioids, then it is worth it.”
About the contest
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: Monday, April 20, 2020 by 5:00 PM
DIGITAL SUBMISSION to, Cara Murray, firstname.lastname@example.org
Safe Communities Coalition Prevention Scholarship opportunity is eligible to a Hunterdon or Somerset High School Student who writes a compelling and thoughtful essay about one of our documentaries (listed below). The scholarship applications will be judged by community leaders.
- Write a compelling and thoughtful persuasive essay on the best way to prevent and reduce substance use in our community, based on one of our documentaries:
- The main goal of this project is to identify a community’s strengths and concerns, which allows critical dialogue about important issues, such as substance use and mental health.
- The project should answer the following questions:
- What do you see in your County that contributes to a safe and drug free community for youth?
- What do you see in your County that contributes to the substance use issues among youth?
- Specifically identifies at least one substance, or substance use in general, to prevent or reduce in our community.
- Concise explanation of your persuasive essay, max 2 full pages.
- Times New Roman, size 12 Font, 1” margins; double-spaced.
- Must properly cite ALL sources that you include in your essay.
- APA, MLA, Chicago, etc., whichever you choose, cite your sources.
- Topics are useful/relevant to community members (Must meet Essay Criteria)
- Digital essay attached to email, in PDF format, submitted BY OR BEFORE DEADLINE
- Send to Cara, email@example.com
- MUST Identify the following in your submission email:
- Your first and last name
- High School name
- Grade that you are currently enrolled (9th through 12th)
- Your email address, one that we can contact you later
- Essay Project Title
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