The lengthening days and rising temperatures mark the changing of the seasons on the Kenai Peninsula. Soon, the snow geese will return, the lifeless grays and browns of winter will be replaced by vibrant, regenerative greens, and before we know it, salmon will be running again.
For one segment of the population, in particular, the changing of the season marks an especially big transition. High school seniors, in the final days of their tenure, are counting down the days to graduation and all the promise that follows. It is a time for reflection on their past and anticipation of their future. But in the rush to take that next step, seniors -- and those who love them -- need to be mindful that hazards remain on the road to adulthood.
With prom season in full gear and graduation celebrations just around the corner, it is our hope that students will remember that with the freedom of adulthood come some serious responsibilities. Truly, there is good reason for seniors to celebrate. In many ways, this should be among the best of times for them. Sadly, without warning, it can turn into the worst of times if celebrations are not conducted safely and responsibly.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has been very proactive in recent years in keeping students safe. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program -- DARE -- has been a part of the curriculum of every school in the district for a few years, and it has done wonders for increasing awareness among teens about the importance of making good choices.
The rise of chaperoned, school-sponsored after-prom functions has also proven to be a key piece of the often complex puzzle of keeping teens safe. The popular events provide a safe, alcohol-free environment for teens to congregate and have fun. They also provide parents an opportunity to get involved. That, perhaps, is the best preventive medicine of all.
Temptations are many for young people today. But it is critical that they remember that every choice brings a consequence, and the consequences of bad choices can be devastating to individuals, families and, indeed, entire communities. It is equally critical for parents to remember that, as much as they'd like to think of their teens as young adults, a little bit of gentle parental persuasion can go a long way.
We wish all seniors a safe and happy end to their high school days. As they transition to the next phase of their lives, we hope they realize tomorrow the significance of the good choices they make today.
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