South Orangetown Central School District

Tappan Zee High School varsity athletes visited health classes at South Orangetown Middle School to talk with students about the dangers of drug and alcohol use as part of the Varsity Athletes Against Substance Abuse (VAASA) Program.

Over the course of two days, varsity athletes stopped by SOMS Health teachers Ryan McWilliams, Frank O’Reilly and Joe Napoli’s classes to talk about how drug and alcohol use can negatively impact their athletic performance.

During their visit to McWilliams’ class, TZHS athletes discussed why they have chosen to take an oath to remain drug, alcohol, tobacco and vape free and the importance of not giving into peer pressure. They also had the class play a game of “Should I or Shouldn’t I” where they were given scenarios and had to answer how they felt they should or should not respond to a certain situation. SOMS students had the opportunity to anonymously submit questions they had including how they balance their school work and sports, what to expect when going to high school and how to say no to peers that may have tried to convince them to experiment with drugs and alcohol.

VAASA, advised by TZHS teacher and Boys Cross Country Varsity Coach Patrick Driscoll, is a peer-to-peer program in which junior and senior varsity athletes are trained to serve as role models for younger students and conduct classroom presentations throughout the school year. “Our students did a tremendous job giving their presentation about living a healthy lifestyle as a varsity athlete resisting drugs and alcohol. We believe that the presentation gives the middle school students hope that they can do anything they want to if they work hard, dream big and live healthy,” said Driscoll.

VAASA Presentation