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feature ● sadd By Neal Patrick Stepp, 2013-2014 SADD National Student of the Year Keep Living for the Future You can live while you’re young, but taking care of your responsibilities on prom night should always be your ﬁrst priority E veryone who listens to popular music and is under the age of 18 has heard the song, “Live While We’re Young,” by One Direction. This song de- scribes what the prom night experience should be like in the eyes of some in our sensationalist, youth-obsessed society. We are being encouraged by music and media that we should not hold back but should experi- ence life while we’re still young. What is a better time to adapt this theme to our lifestyle? I mean, prom only hap- pens once, right? So shouldn’t we go all out and live with no regrets during this one-time opportunity? Unfortunately, it is attitudes like these that can lead to regrets, such as missed graduations and even early parent- hood. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have an awesome time, but we need to remember that not only does this time mark the end of our high school careers; it also marks the beginning of something much more important. Students already know of all the dangers that prom night entails. They’ve heard of the parties that happened in years past and the rumors that still haunt the halls. They know al- cohol and other drugs will somehow make an appearance despite the precautions taken by adults, and they know that stories of hook ups will be on social media that night. How many different ways can teachers and speakers talk about the dangers of prom without repeating the same thing? I think by the time students get to their junior and senior year, they can write the speech themselves! Students need to be encouraged to think past the two-day prom ex- travaganza that has gotten so blown up. Prom isn’t the time to start thinking about how to end senior year with the biggest bang possible, but should be used to celebrate the ending of one chapter of life and the start of a new one. Being a freshman in college has allowed me to see how my actions and decisions in high school could have affect- ed where I am today. I am so thankful for my involvement in SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). I have to credit my high school SADD chapter for being a support system for not only me, but for the other high school stu- 32 PAGEANTRY dents as well. Teachers, speakers and adults can stand up in front of a group of students and talk about prom safety until they’re blue in the face. But in the end, students will do what they want on prom night. I believe educating today’s youth about prom dangers is important, but encouraging them to keep the future in mind and how the events of the evening can dramatically change their future is just as impactful. Here is my chal- lenge to students, in spite of what One Direction says: Live for the future, not the present. I know the saying is cliché, but there is so much truth behind it! The future is so much brighter than those lights on the dance ﬂoor will ever be. Ⅺ NEAL PATRICK STEPP, SADD NATIONAL STUDENT OF THE YEAR Neal Patrick Stepp proudly hails from the small town of Sheridan, Indiana. A 2013 graduate of Sheridan High School, Patrick is a freshman at Indiana Wesleyan University, majoring in Athletic Training. As SADD National Student of the Year, Patrick holds a seat on the SADD National Board of Directors and chairs the nine-member SADD National Student Leadership Council (SLC) and serves as a SADD spokesperson at various national conferences, media events, and public occasions. Patrick appreciates that SADD allows students to show their leadership abilities by being a peer-focused and peer-led or- ganization. To his credit, he launched the ﬁrst-ever Sheridan High School SADD chapter.