New Drug Free All Stars ready to role models for living drug, alcohol and tobacco free

LUFKIN, TX (AP) - A new group of Drug Free All Stars are ready to hit the halls of East Texas schools.

Nearly 50 Angelina County high school seniors will promote a drug, alcohol and tobacco free campus this school year.

The Coalition started training their newest batch of Drug Free All Stars.

These 50 seniors from the six high public high schools in Angelina County (Lufkin, Diboll, Central, Zavalla, Huntington, Hudson) learn everything about how to be a role model for what it means to be drug, alcohol and tobacco free.  

The all stars attend events throughout the year including their annual sticker shock campaign.

Special project coordinator with The Coalition, Maci Herrington says, "It's important for the youth in Angelina County to see that you don't have to use alcohol, drugs or tobacco to be a cool kid or to be successful."

2013-2014 Drug Free All Star, Katy Ratcliff from Hudson High School says she takes this role very seriously.

"I think being drug free in the community and supporting that especially for younger kids is a really important part of being an older kid," said Ratcliff. "It's difficult because we are in the same situations as everybody else that the fact that we don't give in and we're not going to succumb to peer pressure is more difficult but it's also rewarding."

Ratcliff's fellow all star, Chandler Merrell, says she knows younger kids look up to her.

"If you're really looking to be a role model you want to know that these younger kids are looking up to you, think how can I be more of an example that they need to live by," said Merrell.

And some of the all stars use their own experiences with peer pressure as examples of why being drug free is the best way to live.

"I've been faced with the peer pressure of alcohol before," said Merrell. "I've been influenced by people wanting me to go to parties where people are just like you don't have to drink, you don't  have do anything but why put yourself I that situation, where you're in danger that you can."

Students also learned about public service announcements from, Kicks 105 radio personality, Danny Merrell. Groups from each school recorded their own PSA's that will run throughout the year on the radio.

The Coalition is a non-profit organization in Lufkin dedicated to keeping the youth in the community drug free.

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