THE EVENT\ Classes:All, from kindergarten to sixth grade\ Number of students: 650\ Subject: Healthy, drug-free lifestyles\ East Midvale took a hefty swat at drug abuse through a program in which students wrote their own songs, then performed them in a play March 9 and 10 on Hillcrest High School's roomy stage.
Location: 6990 S. 300 East\ Students: 650, kindergarten through sixth grade. Forty-nine special education students were mainstreamed for the schoolwide program.
Number of teachers: Sixty-plus, including special education staff Principal: David Wilson
School district: Jordan\ THE LESSON
The teachers' objective: To arm children for the fight against temptation to use drugs.
In the classroom, a unit on drug abuse prevention preceded the effort to write songs and prepare the play. Children used familiar tunes to put their message into music, from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to more modern, more swingy tunes. Regardless of the beat, the subject was "upbeat" and its thrust was to "beat off" any invitations to use drugs of any kind. The school's PTA got in on the project, helping with costumes, scenery and other special needs. "We hope these children will remember their participation in this program when temptation comes to them," said Marilyn Wright, East Midvale staff member.
The children say: "Drugs and alcohol are not a good idea." Treves Jensen, who took the main part in the play, started out as a typical kid having a bad day. There was nothing and nobody on his side to hear his tale of woe.
Enter The Voice, a huge brain-looking thing that offers Treves not a lot of sympathy but a lot of good information about the damage drugs can do.
Children from every grade had a share in the song-and-dance routine. Even the teachers had a moment in the spotlight with a touching song assuring the children "I Think You're Great."\ Fanciful, cleverly costumed "drugs" tried their best to win Treves over.
But in the end, he was convinced that while life may sometimes be a bummer, drugs can only harm, not help. In a rousing finale, a squad of singing, dancing "drug-busters" showed up to send the drugs scurrying and save Treves from making a sad mistake.
With the help of "The Voice" and a cast of hundreds, the hero emerged happier and wiser and fortified against one of today's worst scourges of youth.
The Deseret News will publish weekly a feature on school activities. Call Chuck Gates, 237-2100.