PTSO Just Think EXPO informs students about drug use, local organizations

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A Newton Free Library representative speaks to students about different programs they have to offer.

Jacques Abou-Rizk

(Photo by Joelle Sugianto)

Students learned about new programs and organizations in the Newton community and received information on making good decisions at a PTSO sponsored “Just Think: Teens Making Smart Choices” EXPO event  held at North Dec. 19.
The main goal of the event was to inform students about mental health as well as programs and organizations in the Newton community. Along Main Street, tables were set up by different Newton establishments such as the YMCA, Whole Foods, and the Newton Police Department. Various stations discussed different topics including e-cigarettes, personal safety, healthy eating, body confidence, and stress reduction.
“When kids think other students are doing stuff, they will feel more prompt to do things too,” said PTSO co-president Sally Brickell, who organized the event, describing drug and alcohol use in the community.
A raffle featured prizes including a Bose speaker, Adidas slides, and a basket of candy and gift cards. In order to enter, students needed to visit four different tables to earn one raffle ticket, encouraging them to visit more stations.
Student singing groups from North performed on Main Street bringing crowds of people to stop and listen.
Senior Rose Mooney, who performed with the Melocotones, an acapella group from North, said she was excited to sing at the event because of what it meant to the community.  “It’s nice to show appreciation for what’s going on,” she said.
Along with the music, there were different demonstrations to entertain visitors. The table tennis challenge, “American Ninja Warrior,” Henna tattoos, and Ligerbots were all part of the event. In the Film Lecture Hall, parents and students were also offered mini-sessions on several issues teens are facing today.
“The most important thing I learned from this event is to be open to trying anything in my community,” said freshman Kori-Reign Tyler.
Visitors chose from a selection of free food that was donated to the event by  several Newton restaurants.
Principal Henry Turner felt that the event was an important way to share information about Newton and substance abuse with students and parents.
“We need to spread awareness to kids and parents about what we have in our community and to teach them about alcohol and drug use,” he said.