DuPont, Rotary Club back Drug Free Schools efforts

Photo Provided Parkersburg Rotarians and 11 Dow-DuPont employees teamed up to assist Parkersburg South High School students on the first test day in the voluntary Drug Free Schools of America project on Sept. 26.

PARKERSBURG — Dow-DuPont Washington Works employees and the Parkersburg Rotary Club teamed up at Parkersburg South High School to enroll 150 students in the first testing day for the Drug Free Schools of America initiative.

“This was a very successful first test day at Parkersburg South because of the school’s dedicated staff and the volunteers,” said Bob Newell, initiative program chairman for Rotary and the co-chairman of the Parkersburg Area Drug Free Community Coalition. “The program is not about catching students using drugs; it’s about creating a drug free attitude that will stay with them after graduation and into adulthood.”

Thus far, the Rotary-sponsored Drug Free Schools effort has received widespread support from local businesses and organizations, including charitable donations to offset program expenses. Parkersburg and Williamstown High Schools also sponsor similar efforts to prevent drug use among students.

Drug Free Clubs of America is a voluntary program established in 2005 in which high school students with parental permission submit to voluntary drug testing. In all, nine high schools in West Virginia are participating in the program.

Drug Free Clubs of America is a “full circle” approach to drug prevention. The strategy surrounds every type of student with protection throughout their day.

On test day, students are often surprised to learn that their membership in the club is something they have in common with others to which they never felt similar. By bringing together school, parent and community efforts, members benefit from a positive sense of belonging regardless if they are at home or out enjoying their community.

Newell said students can still join the club and applications are still being accepted. John Golebiewski, vice principal at Parkersburg South, is the school’s liaison for the chapter.

The Rotary Club of Parkersburg was founded in 1919 and is among the area’s oldest volunteer service organizations that bring business people from various occupations together to exchange ideas, build relationships, and take action locally and globally.