Poster Kids

By Staff

Athletic Management, 16.6, October/November 2004,

When leaders in Indiana decided to start a public service campaign to help youngsters make positive life style choices, they knew they wanted to use role models to make their message come alive. So, whom did they choose? High school student-athletes.

Now in its second year, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) and the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) have partnered on a multi-media campaign that asks youngsters to question the choices they make. Exemplary Indiana high school athletes are featured in posters, movie theater advertisements, and radio and television commercials distributed throughout the state.

The four-color posters show one or more athletes participating in their sport, a tagline about making positive choices, and the question "Whatís your choice?" A poster showing a volleyball player jumping high reads, "I get high without using drugs." Football players take a stand against bullying with the line, "Our opponents are the only people we push around." And soccer players parlay the message that "Gambling is a habit everyone should kick."

This year, 72 athletes were chosen in total, all with outstanding achievements both on and off the field. Athletes had to have a 3.0 GPA or higher, be model citizens, submit a reference form, and sign pledges stating they would uphold the programís message.

"These particular students are phenomenal role models to the youth of Indiana," Joe Koenig, Executive Director of the CJI told the Indianapolis Star. "They are committed to making the right choices to help make themselves, their peers, families, and communities safer and healthier."

Each high school receives 100 posters to put up in their school or distribute to middle and elementary schools in their district. Some schools also put posters up in their communities, and, of course, the athletes get one to put up in their own rooms.

"I thought it turned out great," Pendleton Heights soccer player Vaughn Duggins (who also plays basketball and is a member of the Beta and Spanish clubs) told the Star. "I liked it."

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