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Monday, November 3, 2008

Branchburg school's tree-planting ceremony part of drug-free, leadership program

The willow tree now in front of district administrative offices and Central Middle School represents the Willow Tree Teen Institute, a statewide, year-round drug prevention and leadership program for middle school and high school students.

The program has been at the district since 2005 and is overseen by school counselor Kathy Gorski. Thirty-six students have participated in the program since its inception. Its activities have included arranging assemblies and speakers as well as peer tutoring, mentoring and mediation.

"What feedback I've gotten from them is that they take away an increased awareness in other people's feelings and sometimes how they talk to one another," Gorski said after the Wednesday, Oct. 29, ceremony.

This year's students are organizing the school's first Mix-It-Up lunch days held Thursday, Oct. 30, and yesterday during which students were encouraged to mingle with peers they may not typically associate with.

Read on
The painting is by Nancy Merkle

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