- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 8, 2006

Abstinence. It’s probably one of the more debatable topics for high school students. When having sex on a first date isn’t considered out of the ordinary, being an abstinent teen is a difficult choice. Teens are surrounded by movies, music and Web sites that promote the idea sex isn’t worth the wait and there’s nothing to worry about. But, these teens know better.

Most people are aware that AIDS kills millions of people each year. It’s an issue most people easily recognize. But what kind of difference can a group of teens make in stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS? A lot.

At Eleanor Roosevelt High School (ERHS) in Greenbelt, Md., the “You Choose” club is a student organization that promotes service and abstinence. Reaching more than 2,000 students annually, “You Choose” has held schoolwide AIDS Awareness Days, consisting of assemblies and guest speakers, since 2003.

At this year’s assemblies, about 50 ERHS students demonstrated their dance, theatrical and oral talents to support abstinence. Sponsored by their awesome teacher, Sean Brady, and joined by the WAIT (Washington AIDS International Teens) Team, the performers caused many students leave the assemblies determined to be abstinent, and what’s more, to be proud of their choice.

The club recently held a contest at ERHS asking students to write about how they could personally make a difference in stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. The winner of this contest received $50. George Bassey, a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, wrote the winning poem about how his personal choices could help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS:

It was after they left the movies that he started to get that feeling.

He was intimately sick and needed sexual healing.

Decided to take the young lady back to his house,

A young lady he just met, wasn’t a girlfriend or spouse.

Wasn’t his style to mate, especially on the first date,

But the mood had been set, and the pressure on him was great.

It was late, and he was quickly running out of time.

The girl’s eyes expressed her intentions without speaking, like a mime.

A hug led to a kiss, a kiss led to a touch,

Their hormones were raging, and he was starting to feel the rush.

But one vision that gave him doubts was a baby in a carriage.

Would he continue down this road or choose to wait till marriage?

And if that wasn’t enough, he thought about the risk of a disease,

That he could get from any girl, even this one he wanted to please.

AIDS was the name, pain was the game.

He had everything else to lose, and only temporary pleasure to gain.

On the other hand, he didn’t want to look like a loser to his peers,

But safety was more important than public image, and life was much too dear.

He loved his life, and AIDS was something he didn’t have to get.

And with that, he voiced his choice to remain abstinent.

These teens may not be world-renowned scientists or congressmen (at least not yet), but they care about the future of their generation. And that is why they promote the message of abstinence until lifetime partnership. They care, they know they’re worth waiting for, and they look forward to having a future.

KAELEIGH FEFFERMAN

Miss Fefferman is a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Greenbelt, Md.

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