The Hoover Parent Teacher Council today honored city leaders with a breakfast at Discovery United Methodist Church, as well as student winners of the poetry, art and essay contests.
The Hoover Police Department honored two seniors from Hoover and Spain Park High Schools who submitted winning peer pressure essays.
The winners were Rotimi Kukoyi from Hoover High and Tess Hooper from Spain Park High. Each received a $500 scholarship, thanks to a donation from Frank Barefield, the owner of Abbey Residential, which has apartment complexes in the southeast and southwest.
Rotimi, in his essay, wondered if fighting peer pressure was as simple as saying “no”. It often takes a lot more effort, he says.
The proliferation of social media and other advances in communication is a double-edged sword, offering both positive and negative implications, Kukoyi said.
“We’re more connected than ever, but that means we’re constantly surrounded by outside influences,” he said. “The effect of this change? We are overwhelmed by a constant stream of pressure from our peers, our families, the media and society as a whole. If we are unable to filter information, we always risk drowning in the relentless waves of peer pressure. »
Fortunately, people have agency and control some of the pressures they face by maximizing positive influences and minimizing negative ones, he said.
“A close community of positive influences builds self-confidence and good judgment,” he said. “Not only does this social support make it easier to say ‘no’ in difficult situations, it also makes it easier to avoid such situations in the first place.
“We need to find comfort in behaviors not because they are appreciated, but because they are right and moral,” Kukoyi said. “It’s a difficult but necessary change of judgment to make, because popularity is rarely indicative of moral integrity.”
Hooper noted that while peer pressure often has a negative connotation, it can also be used in a positive way.
For example, people often feel compelled to do something nice when someone does something nice for them, she says.
Hooper said she felt peer pressure to do well in her classes at Spain Park because of a competitive drive to do well. This kind of pressure allows people to reach potential they might not reach if they lacked the motivation that comes from competition, she said.
Additionally, elementary teachers use peer pressure to create good results by offering classroom pizza nights as a reward if the class reaches a certain milestone, Hooper said. Nobody wants to be the one stopping their class from having a pizza party, she said.
“Fear is what drives them to do better,” Hooper said.
Kate Barber Campbell, a fifth-grade student at Shades Mountain Elementary, has won an essay contest explaining why her school’s Academic Resource Officer, Jordan Berry, is the best SRO. Campbell described Berry as strong, brave, kind and intelligent and noted how he welcomes students to school and always watches over them.
Liana Galpothdeniya, a ninth grader at Trace Crossings Elementary, won this year’s poetry contest with a poem about firefighters as heroes, while Eliza Carpenter, a ninth grader at Brock’s Gap Intermediate School, won this year’s poetry contest. won a fire prevention art contest.