Each year as many as 100 Freshmen representing all four Parkway high schools are recruited to attend the Stand UP9! prevention leadership training. This event is a one-day orientation to drug-free leadership, the Peers Advocating for Total Health (PATH) opportunities within Parkway and a chance to learn how to combat unhealthy social norms that circulate within each of their high school communities.
SU9! is an annual event, typically held in February, allowing students to apply new skills and what they learn through the remainder of the school year. During SU9!, students hear from a variety of speakers and engage in team building activities to enable a vision of what leadership can look like within themselves and within their team. Most importantly, we encourage them to ask and answer the question, “What can I do to help my peers choose a healthy lifestyle?”
An important focus of the SU9! training experience is for participants to learn what social norms are and how they can work to challenge inaccurate social norms that enable unhealthy choices.
- For example, when walking down the hall a student might overhear someone talking about a recent party. The story teller might say, “everyone was there and everyone was wasted, it was great.”
Now, the questions that we want our students to answer are: Was everyone there? Was everyone there drinking and getting wasted? Without further thought, it can be easy to believe what we hear in passing; what high school students hear all too often. SU9! seeks to equip students with the capacities to evaluate and challenge such statements. We want students to know that their voice can reduce the influence of exaggeration and over generalizations.