When it comes to the youth in our country, we tend to focus on the negative choices some are making. Usually, it is a small number making poor choices, but unfortunately, many people throw the entire teenage generation into the group.
Much of the same negativism toward teenagers was around when I was a teenager in the 1980s, every generation after and probably even before.
I am letting everyone know that there are good kids out there. No, there are great kids out there.
I work with Portage High School students every day, and yes, we do have a small number making poor choices and grabbing lots of attention. I want to turn the attention to the rest of the students who do make positive choices on a daily basis, who are respectful to others and who are involved in helping the Portage Community. I want to make “Doing the Right Thing” contagious.
By focusing on the positives, we can hopefully influence all students into making better choices. By focusing on the wonderful projects and activities our students do to assist others within the school and the community, the perception that all teenagers get in trouble can be changed. We have great students at Portage High School.
Our JROTC program is ranked first in the region and one of the top six for the country. I was discussing this with Maj. Johnston and complimenting him on all of the awards our students have achieved. He summed it up by stating it was easy when you have great kids. It is easy to guide and lead when you have dedicated and committed students.
This is a program that puts in countless hours assisting the school, but also assisting within the community. The JROTC is involved in the leaf raking program for senior citizens, Christmas in April, and two food drives that donate to the Portage Food Pantry. These are just a few examples of the programs they are involved in helping the school and community. We have great students at Portage High School.
Our PHS Student Council also leads by example. They are involved in school and community projects. They collect clothing and food for various organizations within the community throughout the school year. Many of those items go directly back to our students in need.
The student council was involved in Toys for Tots, helping needy children during the holidays. Christmas cards were made and handed out to local nursing homes. In February, the student council will hold a Riley Hospital dance marathon fundraiser. Our student council just held their winter dance. There was lots of planning by the student council and its supervisors, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Carey. It was enjoyable seeing students having fun and still being responsible. This positive experience will hopefully draw bigger numbers for the dance next year and other events sponsored by our student council, proving again that we have great students at Portage High School.
The office has countless items, such as iPods, phones and money, turned in that is found. Most items get returned to the students who lost them. The money is what amazes me. A student finds a $20 bill in the hallway and no one is around. How many adults would pick up the $20 and put it into their pocket and go on their way? Probably a lot. Yet, items and money are turned in daily by our students.
The other evening at a freshmen basketball game, two students handed me a check they found on the ground. It could have been easy to walk over it or throw it away, but these two girls did not. They did the right thing and turned it in. One phone call later and the owner, associated with another school, picked up the check the next day. She was so appreciative and upon leaving stated what great kids we have at Portage High School.
It is something I am aware of because I see great kids every day, and I have only shared a few examples of the great kids at Portage High School.
So, next time you hear something negative about teenagers, stop and think about the majority of teenagers who are “Doing the Right Thing.” Even better, take it one step further and when you see a kid doing something positive, take an extra minute to pay them a compliment.