The Edmond Sun

Education

January 15, 2013

Speaker calls on students to avoid alcohol, drugs

EDMOND — “What scares you?” was the question asked to an auditorium of Santa Fe High School students Friday.

Reggie Whitten, an Oklahoma City attorney and co-founder of the Whitten-Newman Foundation to combat drug and alcohol addiction, spoke to Santa Fe students enrolled in extra-curricular activities, who will be subject to drug testing due to a school board policy beginning this year.

Whitten said most people would be more afraid of a shark than of a toaster, but only six deaths were reported due to shark attacks last year — fewer deaths than were attributed to kitchen fires.

Pointing out that sometimes what may seem safe in reality is not, Whitten shared the story of his son Brandon’s life and death and how his son’s addiction became Whitten’s own lifelong mission.

Brandon was 25, the All-American student, an athlete and a leader.

Brandon had been in two traffic accidents. The first one killed his girlfriend, and the second one killed him. Both times drugs and alcohol were involved.

Whitten pointed out there are reasons to sacrifice one’s life whether it be for country or for a good cause, but sacrificing one’s life due to drug abuse whether it be caused by alcohol, prescription drugs or street drugs is not acceptable and is totally unnecessary.

“No one ever told me I couldn’t stop,” Brandon had said.

Whitten said a question that some might ask is, “Why couldn’t Brandon stop?

“The answer was he had become an addict and his brain chemistry was changed forever,” Whitten said. “Scientists know how this works. Twenty percent of the population is built differently and will react in a different way when using drugs.”

Oklahoma spends $1.4 billion each year in direct costs caused by substance abuse, Whitten said. “The majority of those costs are related to safety and security issues (i.e., prisons, jails, prosecution), and the contribution of substance abuse to domestic violence/sexual assault and resulting child abuse and neglect. The overall negative economic impact on the state from substance abuse is estimated to be between $4 billion and $5 billion a year.

“The real and tragic cost is measured in human lives ruined or ended by alcohol and other drugs.”

Whitten said drug abuse contributes to a large percentage of homicides, divorces and the incarceration rate, and that a large percentage of illegal drugs come from terrorist groups.

Whitten has had the opportunity to travel to Africa with Pros for Africa.

During a video presentation, former University of Oklahoma All-American and New Orleans Saints linebacker Curtis Loftin said, “Every decision you make affects your future.”

Whitten added every school has the same problems with drugs.

One time drunk equals 14 days lost in training time, Whitten said, and marijuana impairs short-term memory, perception, judgment and motor skills.

“Studies show marijuana use is six times more likely to cause psychosis,” he added. “The choices you make will determine your fate.”

Senior Zak Kerbo said, “I think this assembly was very informative for those students who don’t know what addiction can do to them. I am a huge OU fan and I was interested in hearing about Pros for Africa.”

Whitten founded Fighting Addiction Through Education, or F.A.T.E., an organization dedicated to educating people in Oklahoma about substance abuse and drug addiction.

Whitten knows he can’t go back but must go on each day.

“Now, I just know — this is my fate,” he said. “This is my fate to try to get the word out. This is my fate to do this as long as I live.”

Edmond Santa Fe principal Jason Hayes said, “I think this was an excellent message for the students to hear. Mr. Whitten had a story to tell that hopefully the students will think about.”

Text Only
Education
  • Dr. Fielding’s variance denied by close vote

    Reverse-angle parking will continue at the 13 N. University Drive office of Dr. Brad Fielding. The Edmond City Council rejected a variance request by the local optometrist to end the city’s pilot project in front of his medical facility.
    Councilman Nick Massey and Councilwoman Victoria Caldwell supported Fielding’s variance request that was dismissed in a 3-2 vote.
    Four parking lines were striped late last year at Fielding’s business after the city opened new bicycle lanes along University. The city cites the safety for bicyclists and motorists who traditionally depart while backing into traffic as the main reasons for introducing reverse-angle parking.

    April 15, 2014

  • Sequoyah Sequoyah names students of the month

    Sequoyah teachers chose the following students as students of the month for being good role models, conscientious students, diligent workers, and respectful individuals

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • OCU planning Earth Day activities

    Oklahoma City University will celebrate Earth Day with events on April 22. The events are free to the public and will be in the McDaniel University Center near Florida Avenue and Northwest 26th Street.

    April 12, 2014

  • Ruff Draft Student newspaper, magazines take top honors at contest

    Ruff Draft, the student newspaper produced by staffs at all three Edmond high schools, recently took top honors in the Oklahoma Scholastic Media competition, which is conducted in coordination with the Gaylord School of Journalism at the University of Oklahoma.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Art Show UCO puts the spotlight on design graduates

    The University of Central Oklahoma Department of Design will present “Defeaters of Dull: The Design Senior Show” from 6-8 p.m. April 17 at the First National Center, 120 N. Robinson Ave., Suite 730W, in downtown Oklahoma City.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gala to celebrate global programs

    The University of Central Oklahoma’s Office of Global Affairs will present the International House Night Market Gala from 6-9 p.m. April 18 at the UCO International House, 912 N. Chowning Ave. in Edmond, just north of the main campus.
    Now in its second year, the gala’s 2014 theme is “A Fusion of Art and Cultural Storytelling.”
    Attendees will enjoy dinner, live and silent auctions, entertainment and the presentation of the award for Promoting Cross-Cultural Understanding to Pam Washington, Ph.D., dean of Central’s College of Fine Arts and Design, as well as the recognition of Zhongying Wang, president of Tiptop Energy Production US LLC, as a top contributor to Cross-Cultural Understanding.

    April 12, 2014

  • Oklahoma Christian presents band, orchestra concerts

    The Oklahoma Christian University music department will present its final instrumental concerts of the school year next week.

    April 12, 2014

  • safety 5.jpg 500-plus Edmond students visit safety village

    More than 500 local students have learned about safety from Edmond firefighters in recent days.
    Mid-day Friday, students from Washington Irving Elementary School were at the Edmond Fire Department’s Children’s Safety Village, a child-size, life safety education center where children learn in a hands-on environment. The village is complete with a city park, buildings, streets, traffic lights, a railroad crossing, a water feature and utility-like infrastructure.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Edmond student named National Achievement Scholarship winner

    National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced this week the names of about 800 outstanding Black American high school seniors who have won Achievement Scholarship® awards through the National Achievement Scholarship Program. These awards, totaling more than $2 million, are financed by grants from 31 corporate organizations and professional associations, and by National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

    April 11, 2014

  • Perry takes on Summit principal position

    Shana Perry was named the new principal of Summit Middle School starting for the 2014-15 school year. The Edmond Board of Education voted on the personnel change at its regularly scheduled meeting Monday.

    April 10, 2014