Drug awareness with a side of hot chocolate

Since 2012, the Dream Team has been serving up dreamy hot chocolate and other sweet treats for students and staff the Wednesday before winter break. The club, created in 2007, inspires students and community members to rally against alcohol and drug use. Club Adviser and Physical Education Teacher Lauren Hauser said, “[The Dream Team] provides every student and faculty member a free cup of hot chocolate, mini-marshmallows and munchkins [after] trading in a fact about drug and alcohol substance abuse to bring more awareness about current trends in these topics.”

The club’s mission is to get students to promote alcohol and drug awareness, and the hot chocolate draws attention to these issues. During homeroom, facts on a slip of paper are distributed to students, which they use to redeem their hot chocolate. WHS Physics Teacher Valentino Scipioni said, “It’s a nice activity that actually teaches the importance of the dangers of drugs.”

With drug and alcohol use growing among teenagers, Hauser said, “Teenagers are faced with peer pressure. Drugs and alcohol come to the forefront because they are not socially stigmatized. [Teenagers] don’t always recognize the dangers of use and misuse [of drugs and alcohol].”

Since the club’s founding, it has been connected to the Municipal Alliance which is a part of the town government. Starting in 2023, the club will be independently run by Hauser and Co-Adviser and Health Teacher Susan Kolesar. In 2023 there will be more fundraising efforts due to this separation, said Hauser.

While the long-awaited hot chocolate holiday is its major event in the winter, the Dream Team also plans a variety of activities for the other seasons. “We run a series of events in the fall [and] in the next half of the school year we run two more events. We end with an outreach to the middle and elementary schools,” Hauser explained. “With monthly meetings and activities every other month, when compared to other clubs at WHS, [Dream Team] is the second most active club after the Community Service Club.”

What students typically enjoy most about the hot chocolate holiday is its ability to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Junior Alex Keifer said, “I think the hot chocolate event is special. It adds a good sense of community, brings people together and makes people happy.”