Say No To Drugs Essay Contest For Inn

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Youth Programs

WSLEA Membership is for and about the citizens and the communities its members serve and are a part of. To further assist the citizenry, WSLEA has created and supports an extensive set of youth programs. WSLEA firmly believes that our future is with the youth of our state. The Association acts on that belief by actively supporting — through participation and assistance — the following statewide youth programs.

For consideration, complete the application and mail it to WSLEA Youth Programs, 6947 Coal Creek Pkwy SE, PMB 447, Newcastle, WA  98059.  Click here for a printable Youth Program application.  Youth Program Application.

Elementary anti-bullying Program

WSLEA is pleased to sponsor Joel Brantley’s motivational program “Bullying; It’s Not O.K. – Take a STAND against bullying” at elementary schools throughout Washington State.  Joel Brantley has built a career out of doing two things he loves – performing as a rock and country music artist, and helping kids. For twenty years Joel Brantley has been combining his talent as a live performer with his passion and gift for helping young people deal with tough topics such as drugs, bullying and peer pressure.

Every year Joel travels to various parts of the country, to elementary and middle schools, spreading the word that “drugs and dreams don’t mix” and “bullying, it’s not OK!” as well as instilling the kids with positive messages about life and character that they can remember and build upon.  Joel’s one hour, high energy shows combine 50’s and 60’s rock, country, and Joel’s own songs, written especially for kids and the topics they deal with. Joel seamlessly blends the music with positive messages that truly have an impact on today’s youth. Joel’s shows are also interactive, which means the kids, even teachers, principals and parents get involved. They get to sing, dance, play rubber guitars, wear Elvis shades and be part of the performance with Joel, all while learning important lessons that will help them the rest of their lives.

For additional information, please view Joel’s website at  See Latest News for continuous updates.

Middle School Programs

Statewide Essay Contest – WSLEA’s 24th year of sponsorship – The brochure is available for 2018!  Teachers, alert your mailroom to watch for your copy or see below for a printable version.

2018 Essay Contest “Why I Will Say No To Drugs And Alcohol” – Brochures are available (see below) and in the mail!  If you have found the brochure online but did not receive one in the mail, let us know so we can add you to future mailings.

For the 24th year, WSLEA is pleased to offer this program to all eighth grade students. Schools throughout Washington have been divided into five different districts. Within each district the essays are reviewed to find a first, second and third place winner. Each district first place winner is then reviewed for the overall state winner distinction. State grand prize winner receives $500; district first place winners receive $200; district second place winners receive $150; and district third place winners receive $100.  All public, private and charter schools across the state are eligible.  Click here for more information and a printable form. 2018 essay contest brochure.

Thank you to all the 2017 participants and their teachers for the terrific entries and making this program a continued success!  District award winners:

District 1 – Cascade Middle School (3)

District 2 – Chimacum Middle School, Canyon Creek Middle School and Centralia Middle School

District 3 – Totem Middle School (2) and Bay View Elementary

District 4 – Valley Academy of Learning and Wishram School (2)

District 5 – Tekoa High School, Salk Middle School and Wilbur Creston Jr. High School

Congratulations to the 2017 Grand Prize Winner, Hope Schooley!

Hope Schooley, Valley Academy of Learning

2017 Essay Contest winner| Past Winners

WSLEA Past Chairman and Board Member, Dale England, presents the District 4 and Grand Prize awards to Hope Schooley and her teacher, Mrs. Sandra Langager, at the Valley Academy of Learning

Check presentation

Dale England, Hope Schooley and her parents, Kim and Don Schooley













Contest comments

“Thank you so much for conducting the WSLEA essay contest.  I am so excited and please for the two Wishram students who won.  Thank you so much.  These young ladies are over the moon!”  Joan Chantler, Teacher, Wishram School, April 27, 2017

“I notified students and families today and they were all so excited.  Thank you so much for hosting this contest!  Looking forward to next year!”  Erik Haakenson, NWESD Child Mental Health Specialist and Student Assistance Professional, Totem Middle School, April 14, 2017

“Thank you for providing this contest for Washington State eighth graders.”  Roxane Jones, ELA Grade 8 Teacher, Wilbur Creston Junior High, February 8, 2017

“Thank you for offering this essay contest to our schools.  It gives us a legitimate way to open a conversation about drugs and alcohol with the students.  The dialogue the topic generated was truly valuable.”  Sue Gorton, Toutle Lake Middle School, February 25, 2016

“I presented this amazing opportunity to all of the 8th graders.”  Cimbal Irwin-Rainey, Prevention Intervention Specialist, Marysville Middle School, February 25, 2016

“I appreciate your efforts in the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse among our state’s youth.  As we are all aware, it is an ongoing and serious issue that demands constant preventative efforts such as yours.  Thank you for your work.”  John McMain, Friday Harbor Middle School, February 26, 2016

“I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for selecting my student as an essay contest winner.  She wrote this essay on her own time, without me knowing, and surprised me one day by asking me to help her mail it.  I was overjoyed yesterday when I received the letter announcing that she is being recognized.  When I shared the news with her this morning, she was shocked!  I have been her teacher for three years, and have never seen her smile as big as it was today.  Thank you again for holding the contest, and for recognizing a student with some authentic academic success.  She is beaming with pride today!”  Tiffanee Brown, La Conner Middle School, May 10, 2012

“I want to enthusiastically thank you for recognizing my students in regards to the recent essay contest ‘Why I will say NO to alcohol and drugs’.  I am so proud of all of my students.  Thank you for the beautiful certificates for all the participating students and for honoring their hard work and devotion to making one of the most important decisions a teen can make.  As I’m sure you’re aware, when even a few students earn kudos for their writing, it motivates everyone.”  Annette Wells, Komachin Middle School, May 10, 2012

“All of these essays were written, unaided, by the students.  Thank you for sponsoring this contest each year.  My students enjoy entering it and it brings up lots of topics of discussion.”  Cheryl Lindsley, Grandview Middle School, February 24, 2012

High School Programs

Central Valley Winter Camp Programs

The CV High School camp is a make a difference skills camp with an emphasis on building trusting, lasting relationships with peers and teachers. Students go through a series of carefully planned activities that challenge them both physically and emotionally. The camp is designed by the Camp Leadership Class for approximately 80 campers. Campers work through a very busy schedule of activities over the course of the two days. Some activities included are a Ropes (challenge) course, counsel group activities, 4 different mini-sessions with high school staff members, capture the Flag, Song Fest and the Sticks Ceremony, to name a few. See Latest News for updates.  READ MORE

WSLEA Thank You 20162016 Winter Camp Pictures

Trout Lake School

Trout Lake is a small, 225 student K-12, rural community.  Typical of many small rural communities, drug and alcohol use among youth and their primary care providers is a concern.  Their highest achieving students are doing well and making a life for themselves after graduation.  The middle and lowest achieving students are not having as much success during or after their high school years.  The Trout Lake staff wanted to see stronger connections between these groups and saw hosting a Challenge Day as an opportunity to close this achievement gap.  This type of program is exactly the type of community involvement supported by WSLEA and we were happy to help.

Challenge Day is an intensive day-long program where students and staff are brought together and life-changing bonds are formed.  After participating in Challenge Day, the attitude of the student body and the school environment are transformed, reducing emotional stress, increasing positive student relationships, and powerfully transforming the well-being of students.  Its common for some students to describe the Challenge Day as the best day of their lives.

Challenge Day develops leadership and social and emotional skills in students.  Students will:

  • Increase their skills in noticing oppressions and isolation
  • Practice safe and effective intervention tools in the midst of conflict
  • Perform acts of change in their schools and communities

Through a Challenge Day experience, Trout Lake intends to see improvement in the following areas:

  • Reduction in bullying behavior which will reduce school absences and school avoidance
  • Improved communication between students and teachers leading to improved academic performance
  • Student leadership development that can improve the school climate

School Senior and New School Principal with WSLEA check

Mark Morris High School

Mark Morris High School has developed programs that educate and mentor students regarding issues of acceptance, tolerance and bullying and help students make the schools a safer place.  These programs include a weekend long camp “Be the Change”, peer-mentoring between upper classmen and freshmen, and a one day seminar called “Make the Change”.  During an anti-bullying campaign called “You Matter Week” held February 3-7, 2014, WSLEA presented a grant to the Mark Morris Student Leadership for their 2014 anti-bullying initiatives.  WSLEA’s contribution last year paid for ten students to attend the weekend camp.

WSLEA Board Member Bruce Morrison presents the check to MMHS ASB President Ben Harrison, together with Student Director Julie Wygant and ASB Advisor Travis Ruhter

A new initiative is United for Change comprised of school administrators, local law enforcement, drug and alcohol counselors, youth pastors, parole officers and local charitable and outreach organizations to look at the crime and neglect issues that our most at risk students face in our county.  READ MORE

AT&T Texting and Driving – It Can Wait

Washington State bans texting while driving, one of 39 states to do so.  Cellphone use behind the wheel was a factor in at least 24% of crashes in 2010 (National Safety Council).  The Council said drivers were texting in 160,000 crashes.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 5,474 people were killed and 448,000 injured in 2009 in crashes in which the driver was distracted. Teenagers are particularly prone to accidents when using mobile devices. Research has shown that drivers using handheld devices are four times more likely to get into a serious crash.

AT&T sponsors events to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving. WSLEA partnered with AT&T in hosting a texting while driving simulator – essentially a non-moving car with virtual reality goggles and a monitor display – that AT&T is taking on a tour through western states in May.  READ MORE

Rachel’s Challenge

WSLEA is proud to have sponsored the Rachel’s Challenge program for the elementary, middle school and high school students of the Omak School District, together with a parent’s program.  The Rachel’s Challenge programs are designed to liberate the inner desire to treat others with kindness and respect. The strategic, relational program content is based on the life and writings of Rachel Scott. Shortly before her death she wrote, “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”

Although first held in high schools, Rachel’s Challenge has evolved to include separate programs with age-appropriate content for elementary and middle schools, colleges and even corporate presentations.  The core component of Rachel’s Challenge is a spellbinding and impassioned school assembly that tells the story of Rachel Scott and inspires a desire for change among students. It is unique in that the assembly is followed up with student training, a permanent school club and a community presentation. While it strives to inspire campus and community-wide change, Rachel’s Challenge starts with individual students who have been motivated to release their inner desire to treat others with respect.

The results have been astounding. Representative of thousands of schools is an elementary school in Texas that had 90% fewer disciplinary referrals in the months after a Rachel’sChallenge program was initiated. 78% more students indicated they would intervene in a bullying incident after seeing Rachel’s Challenge. A High School in Illinois experienced 84% fewer out-of-school suspensions. Seventy-eight percent more students indicated they would definitely intervene in a bullying incident in their school after seeing Rachel’s Challenge. Most significantly, in a recent 24 month period, Rachel’s Challenge received more than 450 emails from students who indicated they had changed their mind about taking their own life after Rachel’s Challenge made their school a better and more caring place.  For more information, see


Art Himmler, Superintendent for the Omak School district,Wendell George, School Board Chairman, Pete Sirois, Chairman WSLEA, and Kathy Brown and Marge Thompson, School Board members

To receive information regarding any of the above programs, either call the WSLEA Office at: 1-800-227-9753 or leave a note utilizing the WSLEA E-Mail at:

All WSLEA Community Involvement Division programs are open to all youth throughout Washington State within the appropriate age categories.


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