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SHS students stepping to the plate with random drug testing program

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After a meeting challenging Sunnyside High School athletic team captains and club presidents to encourage their members to sign up for random drug screenings, Ryan Hernandez (left) of the wrestling team grabs consent forms for his teammates. Leadership class member and ASB President Jazmine Salmeron (sitting) provided the forms.

For the past few years the leadership students at Sunnyside High School have been promoting random drug testing among the students, and headway is being made.

Each of the students in the class has already signed a consent form so that they might be randomly selected for drug screenings, and the Sunnyside High School varsity girls basketball team has voluntarily signed the form, as well.

Leadership teacher Josh Eidson said the entire hoops team has volunteered to exhibit their leadership skills by taking a stance against substance abuse.

He said Toni Marie Castillo was instrumental in getting her teammates to volunteer for random drug testing. "She had all the forms turned in in a matter of three days," he stated.

Castillo said it made sense to gain the support of the girls basketball team.

"I took the forms to a parent meeting and let the team and parents know I feel random drug testing would be good for the team," she said, stating random drug testing is a way to promote team success and set a positive example for younger players.

"It's a great image to project for other students and the community," said Castillo, adding random drug testing and the knowledge that the team has volunteered for it holds the players accountable.

She said she wants other students and community members to know the girls basketball team takes its role as leaders seriously.

The leadership class held a meeting this past Wednesday, encouraging other athletic teams and club presidents to take on the challenge of getting involved in random drug testing.

ASB President Jazmine Salmeron stood before team captains and members of other activity groups, emphasizing the importance of volunteering for random drug screening.

"Drugs have had a negative impact on our sports. To use last year's wrestling team as an example, the coach wanted to resign because of substance abuse problems (of the team)," she said.

Salmeron told those gathered at the meeting the form giving consent to random drug screening empowers students, giving them the opportunity to decline drugs and alcohol when pressured to engage in substance use.

"Team captains can have a positive impact on their teammates...you can explain to the team that you would like to have a successful season," she shared.

Eidson added his input, emphasizing the choice is that of the students. "Signing the form is voluntary and the testing is random.

"Each year, many teams lose teammates because of alcohol violations. This can be impactful coming from you, leaders of the teams."

Salmeron told those in attendance at the meeting the leadership class is looking at ways in which it can reward the teams for volunteering to be subjected to random drug testing. As of now, the girls basketball team has a certificate on display at the school.

"You can take this as a challenge or competition between teams," said Eidson.

Salmeron then explained how the testing is conducted, stating it takes approximately five minutes and students are given a swab test.

"The positive impact on the school can be incredible. It is also a way to impact the freshmen and sophomores who believe everyone does drugs," said Eidson, further challenging the leadership skills of the athletic team captains and club presidents.

"We want to show the community we are not about making poor choices, but that we want to be positive," he continued.

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