Grade-schoolers urge PHS seniors to party safely

By Tony Parra

Lindsey sixth-graders don’t want high school seniors to drink and drive this Saturday after the Portales High School prom and they put it down in writing.

The Lindsey Elementary sixth-graders wrote letters to the seniors asking them not to drink and drive as part of the festivities on Saturday. The Portales High School prom will start at 9 p.m. in the PHS cafeteria.

“We want you to be careful with the (peer) pressure and drinking underage,” David Rodriguez, a sixth-grader, said in his letter to a senior. “I hope you have a good way to say no. Don’t let your friends talk you into doing something bad.”

LaNae Lopez, a sixth-grader, said she and her classmates wrote the letters Tuesday during their writing class taught by Diane Pawelski.

“Congratulations for graduating from high school and I hope you are planning to go to college,” Lopez said in her letter.
The PHS graduation is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 19 at the Eastern New Mexico University Greyhound Arena.

Lopez went on to wish the seniors a safe prom night.
“I want them to just have fun and be safe,” Lopez said on Wednesday.

Logan Brown, a PHS senior, is one of the seniors who will be receiving a letter today.

“I’ve been looking forward to prom,” Brown said. “The drinking thing is about who you hang out with. Your close friends.”

Brown said choosing friends is important to keep away from drinking and Veronica Corralez, a Portales High School senior, agreed.

“I look forward to getting dolled out and going out,” Corralez said. “It’s kind of sad knowing you’re not going back anymore for prom. (Avoiding drinking) is about the kind of people you hang out with.”

Brown and Corralez said they don’t plan on drinking on prom night and will probably hang out with friends and watch movies after the prom.

Barbara George, teen court coordinator, said the sixth-graders wrote the letters as a way of encouraging seniors not to drink on prom night. George said a high school teacher will distribute the letters to high school seniors during class today.

According to George, the project is part of the Roosevelt County DWI Grant program.

Pawelski said Valencia and Lindsey elementary students have participated in writing the letters in the last five years either to stop drinking on prom or graduation night.

“The kids really enjoy the assignment,” Pawelski said.
Pawelski said each sixth-grader is assigned a high school senior to write to, unless the Lindsey student wants to write to a specific senior who is related to them.