2012-12-14 / Front Page

Students stick it to alcohol

Captains’ Club program focuses on community, leadership building
By Tracy Orzel
Staff Writer


Josh Behrens, a member of the Kennebunk High School Captains’ Club, places bright orange stickers on Harpoon Winter Warmer beer cases. Behrens said students should refrain from underage drinking because of negative consequences like drunk driving and possibly developing unhealthy habits. (Tracy Orzel photo) Josh Behrens, a member of the Kennebunk High School Captains’ Club, places bright orange stickers on Harpoon Winter Warmer beer cases. Behrens said students should refrain from underage drinking because of negative consequences like drunk driving and possibly developing unhealthy habits. (Tracy Orzel photo) KENNEBUNK – Thirteen high school students gathered in the Hannaford parking lot in Kennebunk with no adult in sight. In less than five minutes Officer Mark Carney was on the scene. Surrounded by more than a dozen juniors and seniors wearing the same hooded sweatshirts, Carney reached for his stickers.

Stickers were the weapons of choice Saturday, Dec. 8 when members of the Captains’ Club at Kennebunk High School convened to participate in Project Sticker Shock, a program supported by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse.

In order to be part of the Captains’ Club, students must take a pledge to be drug and alcohol free. The club is also invested in developing leadership skills.


Kennebunk High School Captains’ Club members place warning stickers on alcoholic beverages at Hannaford. (Tracy Orzel photo) Kennebunk High School Captains’ Club members place warning stickers on alcoholic beverages at Hannaford. (Tracy Orzel photo) Sara Zito, assistant superintendent of Regional School Unit 21, was one of three adults to chaperone the event.

“The conversations they have when they meet are about making ethical decisions, supporting their community and learning how to be leaders,” said Zito.

In the weeks leading up to events like homecoming and prom, Zito said the school district works with the police department to develop programs to make students aware of the issues around alcohol, substance abuse and driving. However, Zito believes the message is much clearer when it comes from their peers.

The purpose of Project Sticker Shock is to educate adults about the fines and charges they will face if they’re caught providing alcohol to minors.


Kennebunk Police School Resource Officer Mark Carney divides Kennebunk High School juniors and seniors into groups in the Kennebunk Hannaford parking lot. The students participated in Project Sticker Shock, a program supported by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse to warn consumers about the penalties they may face for providing alcohol to minors. (Tracy Orzel photo) Kennebunk Police School Resource Officer Mark Carney divides Kennebunk High School juniors and seniors into groups in the Kennebunk Hannaford parking lot. The students participated in Project Sticker Shock, a program supported by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse to warn consumers about the penalties they may face for providing alcohol to minors. (Tracy Orzel photo) After the students divided into groups, each group was assigned an adult chaperone.

Each student was given a roll of bright orange stickers on cases of beer. The stickers informed customers that providing alcohol to minors is illegal, for which they could face fines of up to $2,000 and/or up to one year in jail.

A dozen stores in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel agreed to participate in the project, including Hannaford, Cummings’ Market, H.B. Provisions, Winks and Bradbury Bros. Market.

Stedman Seavey is the owner of Bradbury Bros. Market and was happy to participate.

“I think it’s good for both adults and kids to know about the effects of selling alcohol to minors. It’s a reminder to adults not to buy or provide to minors. It’s a good reminder to the kids also not to participate in that until they’re of age,” said Seavey, who thought it was important for minors to get the message out to other minors as well as adults.

Colby Kingston is a junior at the high school and a member of the Captains’ Club.

The club often visits the middle school to speak to students about making good choices in relation to substance abuse.

Kingston recalled one of those visits from when she attended middle school.

“I remember seeing these kids and saying, ‘That’s something that I really want to aspire to do because I agree with their choices,’” said Kingston, who sees a lot of value in programs like Project Sticker Shock.

“I think its really important for us to get out into the community as a Captains’ Club and let people know what our goal is and also what our commitment is ... I think the program is really cool because it gets kids who have that in common together. So to be doing something like this and raising awareness is a really positive thing for the community.”

Kingston said she hears about kids who are underage drinkers, but doesn’t associate with people who do.

“That’s their decision and I definitely think that as a Captains’ Club our goal is not to put those people down because it’s their own personal choice,” said Kingston.

Instead, Kingston believes a more effective way to influence her peers is by showing them it’s possible to have a positive high school experience without drugs or alcohol.

Although Kingston said she didn’t know from whom her peers were getting alcohol, Carney said usually the person providing the alcohol knows the underage person who is consuming it.

“It may be a student who’s just out of college that’s providing to their younger friends or it could be a relative,” Carney said. “It does happen and we need to negate some of that if it is happening.”

While it’s difficult to gauge exactly how prevalent underage drinking is in Kennebunk, Carney said it’s a problem in every community, and added it’s important to be proactive.

“You just hope that your efforts don’t go unnoticed. (The program) is making a difference and maybe it’ll make someone think twice before they do purchase alcohol for a minor,” said Carney.

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