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Abstinence is the right choice,
speaker tells LJHS students

[OCT. 11, 2002]  "Your life is all about choices. You make more choices every day than you are aware of. It’s not always easy to make the right choice."

That’s what Jeffrey Dean, national youth communicator from Nashville, Tenn., told the assembled young people of Lincoln Junior High School on Thursday afternoon.


[Photo copyright www.jeffdean.com]

He told them he saw them not as children but as young adults, faced with some adult-size choices.

"The number one choice that gets us in the most trouble is about relationships, dating, love, romance and…" he paused before he used the word, "sex! That word makes your heads pop up and your eyes bug out!"

However, Dean didn’t have to use the big three-letter word to get the attention of the junior high students; he had them listening to his ideas and laughing at his humor right from the beginning of his hour-long motivational message about abstinence.

He started by asking questions about choices that have no wrong answers, such as "Do you like Coke or Pepsi?" and "Which would you rather do, dress like your parents or look like your parents?" He then talked about choices that do have important consequences.

"I know you have inside of you everything you need to succeed," he said. "You have goals and dreams for your life. But every choice you make today will somehow affect your future."


Our world today has sold young people the wrong message about sex and love, he told them. Sex is everywhere — MTV, movies, videos — because sex sells. That makes the choice for abstinence harder.

But the big lie the world is selling is that everybody’s doing it. That’s not true, he told them. "Today 54 percent of teenagers in our schools are virgins. So you are in the minority if you do it."

Choices can initially seem rather innocent, but all too often these choices can take us down roads we don’t want to travel, he told them.

"No matter how cool it seems, any time you choose to get involved sexually outside of marriage, at some point something bad will happen. Maybe not then, but later."

He read a letter from a girl who, at age 19, decided to go all the way with her boyfriend. A few weeks later, they broke up. Two years later she got sick with what she thought was the flu, but it turned out to be something much worse.

"I’m HIV positive. I no longer can choose my future," the letter said.

Altogether, he said, there are more than 30 sexually transmitted diseases out there, some of which can be spread by skin-to-skin contact.

Although today’s teenagers are the "most independent group of teenagers that ever walked this earth," like everyone else they still want security. One way to get it is to have a dating relationship, but the desire to be accepted by friends by choosing to have sex or to drink should not take precedence over the goals and dreams of the future.

"Ninety-five percent of the friends in your life now won’t be there in six years. You won’t be going with the same boyfriend or girlfriend next year at this time, and you probably aren’t going with the same one you had last year at this time," he said.


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He told the girls that the way they dress sends "a very real message to a guy about what it is you’re willing to do with him.

"Society tells you you have to dress a certain way, show more leg, less skirt," he said. But tight clothes and showing a lot of skin can lead to trouble.

"Even when you’re not looking for trouble, trouble may come to you. Women in 2002 need to take responsibility for the way they dress."

He warned the seventh- and eighth-grade girls that when they get to high school, older boys will want to date them. That, too, can lead to trouble

"The average girl that gets pregnant today gets pregnant by a guy three years older."

And when they’re thinking of marriage, "A guy doesn’t look for a girl who’s experienced with a lot of different guys," he said.

To the young men, he said, "Being a man is all about being respectful to young women. It is a privilege to take her on a date. Never place her in any environment where anything wrong can happen to her.

"Being man has nothing to do with being sexually active. That’s part of the lies our world sells you.

"The question should not be ‘How far can I go?’ The mindset should be ‘I’m going to stay as far away from danger as I can.’ Your body has no idea you’re not wearing a wedding band. Your body isn’t wired to do this and this and then stop," he said.

Because he and his wife made the choice not to become involved sexually until they were married, the birth of his first child, a daughter, was especially meaningful.

"Abstinence is the sanest, healthiest, safest and the right choice," he told them. "I guarantee that you will never regret that choice."

Dean said that since 1993, when he formed his own company and began speaking to young people, he has spoken to about a million students. Lincoln Junior High was the ninth school on his schedule for the week, and he had three more to go. He said he visits more than 200 schools, colleges, prisons, churches and camps each year.

He promises to answer all letters and all e-mails, and he makes both addresses available. He carries a laptop so he can answer the e-mails as soon as possible.


[Photo by Joan Crabb]
[Jeff Dean, left, talks with LJHS students after the assembly]

The young people at Lincoln Junior High seemed to be favorably impressed with Dean’s talk. They listened quietly and respectfully, and a few stayed after the program to talk to him. Several eighth-grade girls said they planned to get in touch with him by e-mail or letter.

The program was part of the curriculum of health education teacher Sherri Sparrow — an eight-week session called "Game Plan," designed to help teens make wise choices for their future. It was funded by a grant from Project Reality, a not-for-profit organization that has been teaching abstinence-centered programs in the public schools since 1985.

[Joan Crabb]

Honors & Awards


Lincoln Elementary Schools


(Milk served with all meals)

Friday, Oct. 11 — Cereal, cinnamon toast, juice

Monday, Oct. 14 — Columbus Day; no school

Tuesday, Oct. 15 — Cereal, cinnamon toast, juice

Wednesday, Oct. 16 — Cereal, graham crackers, juice

Thursday, Oct. 17 — Oatmeal, toast, fruit

Friday, Oct. 18 — Cereal, toast with jelly, juice



(Milk served with all meals)

Friday, Oct. 11 — Barbecued chicken sandwich, hash brown, crispy rice treat, strawberry applesauce

National School Lunch Week

Monday, Oct. 14 — Columbus Day; no school

Tuesday, Oct. 15 — Shrimp shapes with sauce, mashed potatoes, Trix yogurt, green beans

Wednesday, Oct. 16 — Chicken and biscuit, peas, carrot sticks, pears

Thursday, Oct. 17 — Sloppy joes, cole slaw, french fries, orange juice

Friday, Oct. 18 — Pancakes with syrup, potato rounds, sausage links, sliced apples cooked with cinnamon

West Lincoln-Broadwell Elementary School

Friday, Oct. 11 — Cheeseburger on bun, french fries, corn, fruit ice

Monday, Oct. 14 — Columbus Day; no school

Tuesday, Oct. 15 — Turkey tenders, cheesy potatoes, green beans, pears

Wednesday, Oct. 16 — Sausage pizza, potato coins, salad, mixed fruit

Thursday, Oct. 17 — Creamed turkey on biscuit, potatoes, peas, fruit crisp

Friday, Oct. 18 — Tenderloin on bun, french fries, corn, ice cream sandwich

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Monday, Oct. 21 — Breadsticks, meat sauce, salad, green beans, mixed fruit

Tuesday, Oct. 22 — Ham horseshoe, french fries, corn, strawberry applesauce

Wednesday, Oct. 23 — Chili, crackers, toasted cheese, raw veggies, Jell-O

Thursday, Oct. 24 — 11:15 dismissal; no school lunch

Friday, Oct. 25 — Hot dog on bun, french fries, baked beans, fruit ice

Monday, Oct. 28 — Soft tacos, lettuce and cheese, tortilla chips, corn, peaches

Tuesday, Oct. 29 — Tomato soup, crackers, toasted cheese, raw veggies, pears

Wednesday, Oct. 30 — Creamed turkey on biscuit, potatoes, peas, chocolate pudding

Thursday, Oct. 31 — Beef and noodles, salad, green beans, mixed fruit


Youth invited to 4-H Find Out Party

[OCT. 8, 2002]  Logan County youth ages 8 to 12 are invited to a 4-H "Find Out Party." The party will be on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 to noon at the 4-H Extension building, located on the northwest corner of the Logan County Fairgrounds. This event is to inform youth and adults about 4-H.

 There is no cost or fee to enroll in 4-H, and youth decide what projects they are interested in.

Participating in 4-H is a great opportunity for kids to learn and have loads of FUN! If you have questions about 4-H, this is the opportunity to get them answered.

Please call the Extension office at 732-8289 if you and your child would like to attend the 4-H Find Out Party. Reservations need to be made by Oct. 17. Please reserve your place today!

[News release]

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