BHS hosts fifth Yes Fest

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Dan DeLuca of the State Highway Patrol met with students during the second half of the Yes Fest program in the gym. The patrol has Five Minutes for Life and other after school programs that educate students on drugs and promotes positive decision making.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.Principal Cynthia Fernback and assistant principal Anne Bott organized the fifth annual Yes Fest. The event began in 2013 after the school dealt with the deaths of three students because of drugs. Fernback reached out to the community to get nearly 50 organizations to come to the school to talk to students and give them opportunies for volunteer work. The day also included a speech from Nick Scott. The event's focus is to "Just Say No" to drugs and "Say Yes" to more positive influences. Pictured are, from left, Bott, Scott and Fernback.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.Nick Scott gave students autographs, took pictures with students and talked to students after he spoke. His speech connected with the event's overall message to Say Yes to positive influences.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.Boardman High School students met with a number of organizations in the school gym. The groups gave students opportunities to volunteer and help with their organizations. Organizations included the United Way, Habitat for Humanity and many others. Angels for Animals brought a dog to the event.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.Speaker Nick Scott spoke to Boardman High School and Glenwood Junior High School students during the school's fifth annual Yes Fest. Scott was in an accident during high school, but he went on to become a wheelchair bodybuilding champion and notable wheelchair dancer through a positive outlook.


Boardman High School had their fifth annual Yes Fest assembly and program on Oct. 20.

Principal Cynthia Fernback and assistant principal Anne Bott organized the event, which included a speech by speaker and bodybuilder Nick Scott and a chance to meet representatives from volunteer groups throughout the community. All students from the high school and Boardman Glenwood Junior High School attended the event.

“We are challenging you, Boardman High School students, to reject drugs and instead embrace what is good and what is positive,“ Fernback said during her introduction speech.

The event began in 2013 after the school lost three students to drugs. Fernback worked with Jared Cardillo, who was principal at the time, to figure out how they could help the students. They came up with Yes Fest.

Yes Fest asks the students to first say no to drugs, and then “Say Yes” to the positive influences in the community. The school had nearly 50 organizations for students to meet with for volunteer work.

The event began with an introduction from both Fernback and Bott followed by a speech from Scott. He speaks at schools and organizations nationally about his life. In high school, he was in an automobile accident that left his legs paralyzed. He explained that he made the choice to think positively and change his life. Since then, he has become a champion wheelchair bodybuilder, champion wheelchair ballroom dancer and speaker. He focused his speech on positive thinking and making the best choices.

“You can’t think positively and negatively at the same time,“ he said, continuing to say that people need to choose to think positively.

After the speech, the students moved from the Performing Arts Center to the gymnasium, where organizations set up panels to get the students interested in helping their group. Organizations included Habitat for Humanity, Mill Creek Metroparks and the United Way, as well as many others.

Former Boardman student Dan DeLuca of the Canfield Highway Patrol attended the event to give students a positive view for look for the patrol. He wanted students to know that their future starts now and they can help by making positive decisions now.

He said that he looked for students that stood off to the side and did not take advantage of the opportunity the school offered. He acknowledged he “was not the best student“ in high school, and he wanted to reach out to the kids that are like he was in high school.

The patrol has student ambassadors in schools to extend the “Say Yes” message past the Yes Fest. They also have Five Minutes for Life and other after school programs that educate students on drugs and promotes positive decision making.

Fernback reached out to organizations in 2013 and many said they were hoping to get involved with the school. The principals hope that the program helps students find where they belong. They have found that students are more successful when attached to a cause.

The Yes Fest has been so successful that other schools have reached out to Boardman and have asked to adopt the model and implement the program in their school.

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