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Sex, drugs and lies

[NOV. 8, 2002]  Two minutes after Dr. Stephen R. Sroka began speaking, Cindy Crawford could have walked across the stage and the students wouldn’t have noticed. OK, maybe they would have noticed. In fact, they did, as a stunning picture of Crawford in a sleek dress and Sroka with his arm around her waist illuminated the picture screen.

This guy really knows how to grab attention and how long he can hold it for, especially amongst young people. They hung on his every word, as unbeknownst to them, the high-energy guest speaker swept their thoughts and cleaned their thinking.

Sroka led the 900-plus LCHS voices chanting Thursday’s message:

My body

My choice

I am the power of one

He craftily picked them up using tried-and-true Madison Avenue strategies and pop culture messages and then deftly led them through the true realities using facts, examples and statistics on sex, drugs, alcohol and violence. Using an overhead projector and transparencies, he rapidly fired visual images, slowing down to gather the students’ thoughts and then speeding up as appropriate to lead them through less-than-pleasant real-life issues, ultimately leading them to healthier thinking.


[Photos by Jan Youngquist]

With the grace of a master, he grasps their minds and enters their hearts by telling stories and using humor. Recalling the story of a haughty young man wearing expensive, name-brand tennis shoes, he points out that "the power of you" is not the [brand] name on your butt or chest. Buy some reasonably priced shoes and put the price difference in a college fund where it will make a difference in who you are and will become. "Learn something, be something," he says.

Using the lyrics of sexually charged popular songs, he starts the lines, and in unison students finish them. In the last song he says, "It’s getting hot in here." "So take off all your clothes?" they respond.

Now they’re in the moment, and he runs sexually transmitted disease facts past them. It isn’t pretty. Eighty percent of the population has herpes. One-fifth of all teens are stuck with the lifelong disease. Forty-six percent of the girls get genital warts. He gives statistics that are teen-specific, not general population.


There’s no dodging truth about sex and its consequences. He makes it clear that oral sex is definitely sex and it carries all the disease dangers of intercourse. In fact there is no safe sex. A condom will not protect your real sex organ, the one between your ears: the brain. It won’t protect your reputation, and most importantly it won’t protect your heart.

The effects of drugs, alcohol, violence, sex and addictions are addressed, supported with facts and illustrated with familiar examples. He polls the students, and with not the slightest hesitation, they raise their hands high. Yes, many have seen the family member that used to be funny after a couple beers and a few years later has become belligerent after a couple. He asks, "Who knows someone in this room that has had sex?" The auditorium is instantly filled with raised arms.


He interweaves stories and pictures of people, some first-time users of any substance — inhalants, ecstasy, meth, crank, heroine, steroids and over-the-counter stimulants. As we all know now, some can’t take them. They can cause heart attacks.

Early alcohol use leads to alcoholism, potential rape and violence within relationships.


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Last year 1,800 youth committed suicide. One in 10 teens made suicide plans last year. The acronym "SUICIDE" acts as a guideline for friends to be aware of when someone may be in trouble.

Substance abuse

Undergoing a loss


Change in behavior

Ideas of suicide: If someone says they feel suicidal, do not dismiss it. Get them to help immediately.

Depression: They are acting sad.

Education: Be aware of the signs.

The national suicide hot line is 1 (800) SUICIDE.

Important life skills:

Can’t do drugs

If you see someone doing drugs, alcohol or violence, recognize these are all cries for help.

Get involved

Whether it is in sports, clubs, hobbies, art or bands, do things.

Call on a higher power

As in "see you at the pole." Practice a faith.

Practice stress relievers

Such as deep-breathing exercise with a steady pursed lip; release like you’re blowing bubbles.

Lighten up

Have a little fun from time to time.

"Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?" Sroka asks. And the kids all replied, "Sponge Bob Square Pants."

This is from a TV cartoon, for those of you who might be a little behind the times.

Think first

Practice conflict management.

Sroka says that if we’re going to make it as a society, we’re going to have to stop the hate.

Another chant breaks forth in cadence:

Stop the violence

pump up the peace

Knowledge and love

for you and me

Sroka left the students with a final message to have awareness and sensitivity toward one another, especially when parting. You always want to be conscious of your words, as they could be the last that are spoken between you.

He showed them the strength that each and every one has to make healthy choices. Showed them that they hold the power to influence some one else. And drove home the message that you should always tell people you love them before parting.


Following his presentation students flocked around him to speak. They liked what he had to say. A group of boys all said, "Ya, I liked his presentation. He was good." They all thought they didn’t really hear anything new, but a couple liked the new perspective he brought to some of the issues. Another said, "I liked the statistics, especially the percentages." They put new meaning on things for him.

[Jan Youngquist]


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Speaker addresses students
and community leaders

[NOV. 8, 2002]  Not your run-of-the-mill speaker, but the times call for not your run-of-the-mill actions. Shaken by the numbers of youth that have been involved in accidents and other destructive behaviors in the last year, our community leaders brought a nationally renown speaker and consultant, Dr. Stephen Sroka from Lakewood, Ohio, to town Thursday. Sroka spoke to students at Lincoln Community High School in the morning and at Lincoln Junior High in the afternoon. He took a couple of hours speaking with community leaders over the noon hour.

The father of three girls and a retired teacher from Cleveland Public Schools, Sroka has been a national and world leader in health education. As a visionary he has paved the way, writing about current health issues with today’s youth, and has spoken all over the nation. He has been called to consult in communities as both a preventative measure and to those in the recovery process.

He was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 1996. He continues to teach at the School of Medicine, Center for Adolescent Health at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University. He also serves as president of Health Education Consultants.


[Photo by Jan Youngquist]
[The Healthy Communities Partnership; Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Task Force; Lincoln Community High School; Lincoln Police Department; and Dick Logan worked together in bringing Sroka to town.]

At the noon-hour community gathering Sroka shared perceptions of the LCHS student body and the responses he got from students following his talk. He said, "You walk into LCHS, and you feel respect in the building. The kids are well-behaved, and the teachers have discipline." He liked how teachers sat with students in the auditorium.

He was mobbed by kids following his talk. They told him they liked what he had to say. Some had tears in their eyes. He handed out about 50 cards with his name and e-mail address on them and expects he will hear some serious messages from some of the students


LCHS vice principal Todd Poelker said students and teachers liked the presentation at the assembly. Students said they liked the facts they got in short amount of time and he was entertaining. The most common response was about facts and stats on sexually transmitted diseases. Some were shocked at what is out there. They said they didn’t realize all of it.


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Sroka doesn’t hold back, much, in his talks. What he does hold back is only because adults usually have concerns about it. The kids want more. He grabs their thoughts, using the newest teaching and learning technique, brain-based thinking. He meets them where they are and then gives them the facts. You have to reach their hearts and then show them they have choices, he says. Kids need options.

He recommends building up clubs. One-third of the kids are going to choose right. One-third will choose wrong. It is the other one-third that sit on the boundary that can be reached if you offer them something to do.

One thing he wants to emphasize it that it is not up to the law enforcement or the schools to handle youth issues by themselves. It takes "total community immersion," all community agencies and families, every one working together on all sides of our youth.

He advises that when dealing with youth, "Treat them with the respect that you want to be treated with." And he encouraged, "Go out and do the best you can, every day you can." They will remember you all the rest of their lives if you make them feel special. "It’s not what you tell someone, it’s how you make them feel that does not change."

There were about 30 in attendance at the noon meeting, including Lincoln mayor Beth Davis, Logan County Board chairman Dick Logan, Lincoln DARE officer Tim Butterfield, LCHS and LJHS administrators, Lincoln Park District, Logan/Mason Mental Health Department, Logan County Health Department, Healthy Communities Partnership and others. The general consensus was that everyone would have liked more time to do more things with Sroka. Particularly having time for interaction and brainstorming. Kristi Lesson, prevention specialist at Logan-Mason Mental Health, said, "We hope to have him return for an open community forum." The public will be invited.

[Jan Youngquist]

Illinois remains first in nation
in education technology

[NOV. 2, 2002]  CHICAGOGov. Ryan announced Friday that for the second year in a row Illinois has been ranked first in the nation in the category of education by the Center for Digital Government and the Progress and Freedom Foundation.

The latest round of the Digital State Survey was announced today in the areas of education, geographic information systems and transportation, and taxation. Five states tied for the first-place ranking in education: Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, South Dakota and Utah. Three states tied for first place in the area of geographic information systems: Arizona, Illinois and Kansas.

“We have made education and technology a top priority of this administration, Through the expansive Illinois Century Network and new opportunities to learn through the Illinois Virtual Campus and Illinois Virtual High School, Illinois has harnessed technology tools that are necessary to prepare our citizens for participation in the global economy,” Gov. Ryan said.

Illinois also moved in to the top spot in the area of geographic information systems and transportation for the first time. GIS technology, or providing data geographically, is playing an increasingly critical role in all areas of government. From road conditions to bike routes, crime reporting to environmental protection, spatially mapping data can provide enhanced services, link interrelated issues and create new efficiencies for government as well as industry.

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In 2001, Illinois ranked first in education and second nationally in GIS. In 2000, the category of education was ranked separately in the areas of K-12 education and higher education. The GIS category was new to the survey in 2001.

“This is a highly competitive survey, and Illinois is the most populous state among those ranked at the top in these two categories. Initiatives like the Illinois Century Network make Illinois a leader in the nation,” Gov. Ryan added. “Expanding our learning online provides an expansive list of opportunities for our students, regardless of geographic location or age.”

[Illinois Government News Network
press release]

Honors & Awards

LCHS speech team begins new season

[NOV. 5, 2002]  The speech team from Lincoln Community High School participated in the ISU Invitational Speech Tournament on Nov. 1 and 2.

"The first tournament of the year was an interesting and eventful weekend," said Ed Jodlowski, one of the speech coaches at LCHS. He indicated that the improvement students showed during the tournament gave "reason to believe that this season will be very successful."

The speech contestants are also coached by Carrie Schreiber.

LCHS individual results

Varsity placement

Radio speaking — Abrigail Sasse, third place

Extemporaneous speaking — Tim Fak, fifth

Verse reading — Tom Swanson, sixth

Varsity semifinalists

Oratorical declamation — Abby Sasse

Impromptu speaking — Tim Fak

Prose reading — Ty Sank

Radio speaking — Brian Welter


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Novice placement

Oratorical declamation — Erica O’Neil, third; Amy Schumacher, sixth

Novice semifinalists

Humorous duet acting — Beth Boch and Corrine O’Donoghue

Humorous interpretation — Lindsey Boerma

Prose reading — Beth Boch

Radio speaking — Amy Schumacher

Prose reading — Brittany Feese

Verse reading — Brittany Feese

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LCHS students honored in Merit Scholarship testing

[NOV. 4, 2002]  Principal Joyce Hubbard of Lincoln Community High School announced that Kirsten Gandenberger is a semifinalist in the 2003 National Merit Scholarship Program and that Jerrod Marten, Lindsay Struebing and Collin Voyles have been named Commended Students in the program.

A Letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which conducts the program, will be presented by the principal to the scholastically talented seniors who have been named Commended Students.

A total of about 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2003 competition for Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 5 percent of more than one million students who entered the 2003 competition by taking the 2001 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

An NMSC spokesperson commented: "The young men and women named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for future academic success by their high performance in the extremely competitive National Merit Scholarship Program. These scholastically talented youth represent a valuable resource to our nation; it is important to publicly recognize their attainments and to credit schools for the important part they play in their development. We hope this recognition will help broaden the educational opportunities of Commended Students and encourage all students to develop their abilities to the fullest."

Semifinalists announced by officials of the 48th annual NMSC program have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,000 Merit Scholarship awards, worth $30 million, that will be offered next spring. Merit Scholarship awards will be underwritten by approximately 500 business organizations and higher education institutions as well as by NMSC’s own funds.

"These 16,000 academically talented students come from every state, and although they represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, they are excellent representatives of our nation’s youth," commented an NMSC spokesperson.

The competition

More than 1.3 million juniors in over 20,000 U.S. high schools entered the 2003 National Merit Program by taking the 2001 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, the PSAT/NMSQT, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. They were designated semifinalists in numbers proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors.


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The next step for semifinalists is to fulfill requirements to advance to finalist standing, a prerequisite to competing for a Merit Scholarship award. To become finalists, semifinalists must have a record of very high academic performance, be endorsed and recommended by their school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm their earlier qualifying test performance. The semifinalist and a school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about the semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.

About 90 percent, or approximately 15,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to the finalist level of the competition, and some 8,000 of them will win Merit Scholarship awards. All Merit Scholar designees will be selected from the finalist group on the strength of their accomplishments and abilities, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference.

Merit Scholarship awards

Three types of Merit Scholarship awards will be offered in 2003. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit Scholarships, in the amount of $2,500, that will be awarded on a state representational basis. In addition, some 300 corporations and business organizations will underwrite about 1,100 corporate-sponsored scholarships for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. Also, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,400 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsoring institution.

Merit Scholarship winners of 2003 will be announced in four nationwide releases to news media, beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 210,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title since the first competition in 1956.

[News release]


Hartem grads awarded Behrends Scholarship at LC

[OCT. 25, 2002]  Brad Aper, Nitashia Brown, Jean Cross, Beth Guy, Stellakay Donaldson, Larry Jones Jr. and Jennifer Tuttle are this year’s recipients of the Anna K. and Bernard E. Behrends Scholarship at Lincoln College in Lincoln. All are graduates of Hartsburg-Emden High School.

The Anna K. and Bernard E. Behrends Scholarship is awarded to surrounding county high school graduates with good academic standing.

[No photo

Brad Aper, son of Larry and Nancy Aper of Hartsburg, is studying business. He plans to continue his education at Illinois State University.

Nitashia Brown, daughter of Patricia Brown of Hartsburg, is studying veterinary medicine.

Jean Cross, daughter of Greg and Barbara Cross of Emden, plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Lincoln College Normal.

Beth Guy, daughter of Tom Guy of Lincoln and Nancy Guy of Laurinburgh, N.C., is active with the Lincoln College volleyball team and is studying interior design.

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Stellakay Donaldson, daughter of John Donaldson and Sheri Donaldson Mester of Hartsburg, is studying general education courses.

Larry Jones Jr., son of Larry and Susan Jones of Hartsburg, is studying theatre. He plans to continue his education at Eureka College and pursue a career in acting.

Jennifer Tuttle, daughter of Jeff Tuttle of Greenview and Lorie Reiners of Emden, is studying accounting and business management.

[Lincoln College news release]



Lincoln Elementary Schools


(Milk served with all meals)

Monday, Nov. 11 — No school; Veterans Day

Tuesday, Nov. 12 — Cereal, graham crackers, juice

Wednesday, Nov. 13 — Cereal, toast with jelly, juice

Thursday, Nov. 14 — Biscuit with egg and ham, fruit

Friday, Nov. 15 — Cheese toasty, fruit



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(Milk served with all meals)

Monday, Nov. 11 — No school; Veterans Day

Tuesday, Nov. 12 — Hot ham and cheese on bun, green beans, goldfish crackers, pears

Wednesday, Nov. 13 — Chicken and biscuit, peas, pudding, fruit cocktail

Thursday, Nov. 14 — Sloppy joes, cole slaw, french fries, cinnamon applesauce

Friday, Nov. 15 — French toast sticks with syrup, hash brown, sausage links, peaches


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