Barrington High School seniors take stand against drugs
Broncos Committed, a Barrington High School student organization that’s in its first year, is made up of BHS students promoting drug and alcohol prevention programs. | Photos courtesy BHS
BARRINGTON — This year’s senior class at Barrington High School has something truly authentic and spirited in which to be proud of. Broncos Committed, a student organization that’s in its first year, promotes a different kind of drug and alcohol awareness tactic.
Garrett Danelz, a Barrington High School senior who helped form Broncos Committed with a large group of other seniors, said he had previously been involved with other drug and alcohol prevention programs, but that they all seemed to have the same flavor.
“We felt like something was missing,” said Danelz. As an athlete, Danelz said, he wanted to start a program that was all-inclusive but also sent a strong message to fellow athletes. Garrett said he believed that lots of athletes abuse steroids and other drugs in part to deal with the pressures of competing.
“We felt this was a problem and we wanted to make a difference in the community,” he said.
Danelz and his friends, including senior Dylan Nelson approached Brenda Nelson, Program Assistance Coordinator at the high school. Brenda Nelson had been involved with a national program called Life as an Athlete, which promotes sobriety, health and wellness among athletes.
“It looks not just at drugs and alcohol,” said Brenda Nelson, adding that sleep, nutrition and other factors are also considered. “It’s really the science and rationale behind how that will really affect your performance.”
Barrington High School created their own division of Life as an Athlete, which they titled Broncos Committed. So far, the program has grown to include non-athletes as well.
“We’re a pretty big group,” said senior and Broncos Committed member Meredith Slott. “There are people who are just as committed to the program who are in the fine arts.”
Dylan Nelson said the students deliberately chose the name of the organization.
“Broncos Committed is not a club or necessarily a program, it’s a commitment to your town, your team and to yourself,” he said. “We wanted our community to reach its potential in every way possible.”
Although Broncos Committed is comprised of seniors only, the ideas of the group are meant to appeal to everyone. Danelz said the organization is open to any student willing to make a commitment to have a drug and alcohol-free senior year.
Danelz said Broncos Committed has plans to take the program into middle schools, since statistics show middle school to be the most common time that adolescents begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol.
“We’re going to start going into middle schools now and create a new generation of committed Barrington students,” he said.
Brenda Nelson, who helps facilitate the program, said the support they’ve received from the principal and athletic director at the high school have been instrumental in the success of it, which is about 100 students strong.
“I think they really sense that this is a way to make our school more unified,” she said.