My name is Ethan Rodgers and I am a senior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School in Bridgewater, New Jersey. I am currently deciding whether to attend Vanderbilt, UNC-Chapel Hill, UGA, or Clemson for the upcoming school year, and I intend to major in mathematics.
A drug does not care whether a boy is a promising athlete. A drug does not care whether a girl is brilliant in the classroom. A drug does not care about a mother’s tears as she loses her child to addiction. A drug does not care. Drug abuse among youths in America is a horrifying, yet growing epidemic. The grasp of addiction does not discriminate by gender, race, religion, or circumstance. This addiction merely seizes any who stumble upon its path, and derails many successful lives along the way. Therefore, it is crucial that children be educated of the dangers of walking down that road. Through SHARE, I have been able to make a positive difference in my school district as I help guide young people into the warmth of prosperity, rather than the chill of drug addiction.
The horrible power of drug addiction lies in its ability to harm not only the user, but all who care about him or her, as well. I have seen the disaster of drug addiction far more closely than I would like. It is excruciatingly difficult to listen to one of your best friends shake as he tells you of his older brother’s struggles with heroin addiction, yet that is something I have endured. I have seen the pain – the awful, tearing, permanent pain – that drug use inflicts upon one’s loved ones. I never want anyone else to see it themselves. Thus, I have made it my priority to help limit and eliminate this tragic behavior within my community, so that none must feel the savage sting of a loved one succumbing to addiction.
The SHARE club is an organization designed to educate students in the local community about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and promote thoughtful decision making. Throughout the academic year, we provide information and knowledge to students in the high school through presentations and announcements. Through our efforts to educate the student body, we are able to improve the broader community. We also strive to promote a drug free lifestyle for all of the members of our high school community. Furthermore, we often host informational tables outside the cafeteria in order to educate the student body. For example, for all of Red Ribbon Week we present facts and information, while encouraging students to sign a banner pledging to be drug free. This week helps garner excitement and spirit for the club and its message, which provides us with even more power to better our community.
However, the most important work we do is the education of our community’s sixth
graders. By visiting the lower schools we are able to not only educate them, but also provide positive role models that they can emulate. I truly remember being one of those sixth graders when SHARE came to my school. I recall looking up to the members and striving to follow their examples. Many of my decisions in life have been influenced by my experiences as a student of SHARE. Because of the impact the program had on myself as a child, I have been able to live free of drug abuse and addiction. Moreover, I have been compelled to pass on this message to the next generation of youth. If even one student has an experience like mine, then that is one future that I have impacted positively. It is this knowledge that makes me so proud to be a part of SHARE.
I have been involved with SHARE throughout my entire high school tenure in order to help combat drug abuse and addiction. I have been fortunate enough to have been selected as a club officer as a sophomore, and appointed as a Chief Officer for my junior and senior years. Holding the top leadership roles in the club has been truly rewarding, as it allows me to drive the club’s direction in fulfilling our mission, while communicating to a vast group the importance of our vision. It was always important to me to give back to my community, for the community has given me so much. My role within SHARE has allowed me to do just that. I have spent my time and energy aiming to combat drug use. Addiction is something that I have seen close to home, which is exactly why I work to ensure that no one else has to have the same experiences.