Home Opinion Editorials Elgin students are making a difference
Elgin students are making a difference
Headlines in newspapers and soundbites on television have a big
tendency to make people believe the world is a worse place to live than
it really is. Bad things, scary things, make the news, every time.
Everyday good things, thousands of them, go largely unnoticed.
The City of Elgin has been a victim of such. Last summer, a self-admitted meth addict murdered three people there, and, to make the crime more spectacular, dismembered one of them.
For many long weeks, the little town on the banks of the Grande Ronde was in the news in a way it never deserved. People who didn’t know better jumped to the conclusion that Elgin is the methamphetamine and murder capital of the world. The fact is, Elgin is just another peaceful and law-abiding town along the road, a nice Northeast Oregon community full of working people who want only to live right, raise their kids safely and help their neighbors when they can. Drug-crazed killers are by far the exception, not the rule.
Is there a problem with drugs? Yep, just like in Enterprise, Imbler, La Grande, Cove, Union, North Powder, Portland, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris and London.
Are there people in Elgin who care and want to do something about it? You bet.
A positive story out of Elgin that did make news recently involved high school sophomores Lauren Sauers, Rachael Jones and Taylor Luse.
The girls, members of the school’s Future Business Leaders of America chapter, struck a blow for community pride by launching a drug awareness program. It’s fair to say they spared no effort to see it through.
They went on the radio to spread their drug-free message. They gave presentations to elementary students at Stella Mayfield School.
And, linking their project to National Red Ribbon week, they collected hundreds of signatures from adults and students — signatures representing a commitment to the creation of a drug-free community — on red footprint cutouts.
The campaign slogan? “Take a step. Make a stand. Elgin’s becoming drug free.”
The signed footprints now hang in the high school gym, a visible legacy of the girls’ efforts. But the message carries farther than that. Many people from throughout Oregon will hear it when a summary of the awareness project is presented this spring at the state FBLA conference.
Talking about the project, Sauers told a reporter the aim was to bring drug awareness into the community and restore the town’s reputation. There’s always more work to be done, but this effort is a tremendous start. Let the healing in Elgin continue.