In its first year, the Seymour High School chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions has not shied away from bringing awareness to some major issues facing high school students.

The group won second place in a national contest for a video it created about the dangers of distracted driving. The students received $2,500 in scholarship money for their efforts.

Then May 12, they attended the annual Indiana SADD Celebration, where they were awarded New Indiana SADD Chapter of the Year in recognition of all of the public outreach they have done over the last few months.

They helped the Seymour Police Department promote its Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign this month and helped organize the Rule the Road defensive driving course for teens.

And their president, senior Gunnar Ortlieb, was selected to attend the national SADD SPEAKs (Students for Policy, Education, Advocacy and Knowledge) conference in Washington, D.C., in July.

Instead of taking a break before the end of the school year, the Seymour SADD students decided to bring light to another major problem students are facing along with entire communities across the state and country.

The organization’s most recent project is a video aimed at getting students to not use drugs, including marijuana, heroin and prescription pain pills, and alcohol and to find a “different kind of high.”

“We made the video as a final project before our graduation and to address the avoidable problem that we feel is plaguing our community,” Ortlieb said. “Drugs have always been an issue, but with the recent outbreak in overdoses, combined with teenage drug use, we wanted to offer those choosing to partake in drug use another high, one that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol.”

The video begins with images of kids buying and doing drugs and then changes to kids having fun by visiting new places and spending time together in activities such as kayaking and hiking.

At the end of the video, the narrator explains: “My high comes from putting a smile on somebody’s face. My high comes from finding new places and exploring new opportunities. … My high comes from life, not drugs.”

SADD was founded more than 35 years ago with a focus on dealing with impaired driving, especially underage impaired driving. The Seymour High School chapter of what was then known as Students Against Drunk Driving was formed in the spring of 1988 by nearly two dozen students.

It had been inactive until this year.

Although there are only five students involved, their reach has been far, and they are making a difference, said SADD adviser and School Resource Officer Keith Williams.

SADD members are Ortlieb, Sean Miller, Kyle Combs, Addie Rudge and Peyton Heyne.

Their videos, which are posted on their Facebook page, have received thousands of views, likes and comments not just from people in Seymour but around the world.

The students say the videos are a way to show people there are better options in life other than drugs and other bad decisions.

“In today’s world, we hear of highs resulting from drug use, alcohol abuse, among other harmful substances,” the group posted on its Facebook page. “The pursuit of these highs has resulted in the loss of classmates and community members, and we’re ready for it to stop.

“We think there’s a different high, one that doesn’t leave you where you can’t remember it or takes away from who you are, a high from being happy and having fun,” they said.

On the Web

To watch Seymour High School SADD’s videos on a “Different Kind of High” and distracted driving, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/SeymourSADD.

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.