Batesville H.S. starting SADD group after recent tragedy

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Most people still think of the groupSADD as Students Against Driving Drunk, but the organization has expanded itsfocus in recent years and has also tried to grow its membership.

This week, Batesville High School became one of only two schoolsin the state to create its own SADD chapter.

A recent classmate's death and other tragedies in nearbydistricts have inspired the Batesville students to get involved and start theirSADD club, which now stands for Students Against Destructive Decisions.

The school held an assembly Wednesday morning so that thetenth through twelfth grade students could learn how they could get involvedwith SADD.

"I just hope that wehelp our people here, our students," said Junior Travis Swaim, "and prevent abunch of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, anything that will hurt someone else in thefuture."

Swaim first brought up the idea to the high school administrationto start a SADD club locally.

"Because in our district and surrounding districts," hesaid, "there's a lot of bullying and suicides due to bullying and there's justa bunch of alcohol abuse, drug abuse in our community, and I think this wouldbe a good way to help the people in our community and our school to kind oflessen that."

One of his teachers, Sarah Pickett, volunteered to lead thelocal SADD club as faculty adviser.

"We just want to give [the students] something positive thatthey could put their energy into," Pickett said, "instead of drinking, driving,doing drugs or destructive things that they could be doing with their time."

To get more students involved, Pickett brought in some help –her older brother, Christopher Payne.

"I was here today to speak with [the students] aboutstarting the club, to get them inspired, give them hope and give them just afamily," Payne said, "a community of students to belong to and empower them tomake a difference."

Payne serves as a national advisor for SADD and leads thenation's number one club located in Dothan, Alabama.

"Organizations throughout our community and throughout thestate, we're working with trying to volunteer with them," he said, "and it getsthese kids invested in the community and show them that their time can be usedto make the world a better place."

After his speech Wednesday, Payne passed out contracts thatall potential SADD club members have to sign. The contract is supposed to be alifelong one, and details that a student will not engage in destructivebehaviors, like drinking and driving or drug abuse.

Payne says Batesville seems to be starting strongly basedsolely on how quickly the students snapped up those contracts before leavingthe assembly.

"Even if just one kid changes," Swaim said, "that's stillchanging one kid, and that's still changing somebody's life so that seems like it'dbe a success to me."

The Batesville High SADD Club will hold its first officialmeeting Thursday during lunch, so the school will find out then just how muchinterest the assembly created.

To learn more about SADD or how you can start a club at yourschool, follow this link.

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