Coming Together

Thursday, March 15, 2012
6–8:30 pm
Living Arts College
3000 Wakefield Crossing Drive
Raleigh, NC 27614

Wakefield High School, Raleigh, NC – February 29, 2012
Wakefield High School has produced two documentaries in the last five years that have been called “exceptional teaching tools for all teens.” The school’s JUST THINK FIRST Program recently provided copies of both documentaries to all high schools in NC for use in driver education classes, school assemblies, and other programs deemed appropriate.

The personal responsibility video focuses on teen substance abuse and follows the original video made in 2007 on the topic of drinking and driving. Personal responsibility tells the story of what happened to one Wakefield High School student and his family while educating viewers on the impact drugs and alcohol have on our youth today.

“ The death rate among teens due to drinking and driving, and alcohol and drug use is continuing to increase in North Carolina. By sharing Wakefield’s stories and providing a powerful reality check for viewers, we hope to make an impact. The goal of the JUST THINK FIRST Program is to raise awareness on societal issues that affect our children.
Through education, we continue to be committed in our efforts to remind students of the safe and responsible choices they can make” noted Dr. Vivian Wells, Assistant Principal at Wakefield High.

A March 15th event is planned for the community at the Living Arts Center in Wakefield.  Parents and students from Northern Wake schools are invited to attend a viewing of the new JUST THINK FIRST video and a program addressing teen substance abuse. Dr. Scott  Swartzwelder, a Duke University psychiatrist and expert on the subject is the keynote speaker.
A number of related vendors will be on hand at the beginning of the evening including representatives from MADD, Kidtrackeronline , and Drug Free NC. Others who will participate in the main program include a local ALE  officer, a Wake County school principal, and a Wake County parent. The program entitled, Coming Together, is sponsored by The JUST THINK FIRST Program and The Wake Weekly.

How did the JUST THINK FIRST Program come about?
Wakefield High School has suffered an alarming number of student deaths due to drug trafficking, speed racing, drinking and driving, and more.

Between 2005 and 2007, nine students died. One student, an Eagle Scout and member of the school band, was found dead in the trunk of his car after his first year of college. He had been duct – taped and set on fire…murdered because of a drug deal gone bad. Eight students died in five separate automobile accidents and sadly, more students were left permanently impaired in additional accidents. As a result of poor decisions, one single driving accident took the lives of four senior boys who were returning home from a regional basketball play – off game. This particular accident received much media attention; but it was all of the accidents and the loss of so many young lives in less than 24 months that put the Wakefield community in a state of shock and disbelief.

“Many organizations and people in the community reached out to Wakefield after the deaths of our students offering support and assistance with money, time, materials, and programs. We received a grant from the Wake County New Vehicle Dealers’ Association and working in conjunction with this group, produced a documentary entitled JUST THINK FIRST – choices count.

We released this documentary in spring 2007 and provided copies to school systems in North Carolina. The JUST THINK FIRST Program was officially born at this point in time,” stated Sandy Gasper, former PTSA President.

Contact information & funding–Videos are available for purchase on the website, www.justhinkfirst.com. Funding for the program comes primarily from grants, Wakefield’s 5K Road Race and The Skinny Turkey Half Marathon (both races are held in the fall of the year).
Debbie Albritton, WHS JTF Committee – dalbritton@wcpss.net – 919-562-3600
Sandy Gasper, WHS PTSA – tgasper@nc.rr.com – 919-757-5942
Dr. Vivian Wells, WHS Assistant Principal – vcwells@wcpss.net – 919-562-3606