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The Task Force behind the scenes

New co-chair appointed

Ally+Schmiedlin%2C+along+with+other+seniors%2C+enjoy+a+game+of+limbo+at+Project+Graduation.
Ally Schmiedlin, along with other seniors, enjoy a game of limbo at Project Graduation.

Ally Schmiedlin, along with other seniors, enjoy a game of limbo at Project Graduation.

Ally Schmiedlin, along with other seniors, enjoy a game of limbo at Project Graduation.

Madison Snavely, PR/Marketing Director

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The homecoming dance, the bonfire and donkey basketball are just a few of the many enjoyable events that students attend to socialize with friends. However, do students know who plans these events? The organization that plans these events is called the Task Force.

The Task Force is a non-profit organization that can be described as “a cross between a PTA and a booster club utilizing help from lots of volunteers,” Dana Sharpless, co-chair of the Task Force, said.

“Our mission is encouraging positive decisions while providing safe activities, incentives, and achievements,” Sharpless said.

The organization’s goals are to help students make positive, healthy and smart decisions along with keeping the community safe.

The program was developed when Ellen Hill, a former high school employee, went to a mandatory workshop with fellow local and school officials at the IU building in Center. The workshop was mandatory for all districts county wide. The workshop’s main goals was for each district to create a new program to raise prevention awareness.

The Task Force was founded around 24 years ago by Hill. Although the organization is under new management, Sharpless and Baldwin don’t plan on making drastic changes.
“The Freedom Area Task Force is committed to continuing to provide the same events and programs in order to keep raising the funds for the graduation seniors and their Project Graduation,” Sharpless said.

The Task Force is responsible for several events that take place at Freedom.

“We do a lot of things like Project Graduation, we run the homecoming dance, we run the bonfire, the winter ball and all kinds of events that would help prevent kids from doing other things like drugs, alcohol and self harm,” Brad Baldwin said, co-chair of the Task Force.  These events have been very enjoyed by students in the past.

“I like the bonfire because everyone gets together and hangs out. The fireworks are very

exciting too,” sophomore Charlie White said.

Sophomore Morgan Swab also likes these events.

“Homecoming is fun to vote for the king and queen and seeing all my friends at the football game,” Swab said.

The organization also works very close with the SADD club, which is also run by Baldwin.

“I’m the sponsor for the SADD club, so a lot of the stuff we do in SADD club we team up with task force anyways,” Baldwin said.

“I would like to promote SADD club and student involvement, like more students getting involved, having a say in what they’re going to do, coming up with new events, so students will join the SADD club and have a word and a voice and help create new ideas,” Baldwin said.

The Task Force and the SADD club helped sponsor last year’s donkey basketball event, which was a huge success. The community was brought together while many students, teachers and adults had a fantastic time.

“I think donkey basketball is a great fundraiser because it involved the entire district from faculty to the students. It’s also hilarious seeing how the people try to convince their animal which way to go so they can take a shot at the hoop,” senior Michael Keith said.

To anyone else the Task Force looks like just another organization that plans events, but to the volunteers, it’s more.

“The Freedom Area Task Force is dear to my heart, because its all inclusive.  We get involved with activities and/or programs that benefit everyone (meaning students, siblings and family members) in the entire school district,” Sharpless said.

“If I can save one kid [the night of graduation], that made my day,” Hill said. “Tonight they’re safe.”

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Freedom Area High School's Student Newspaper
The Task Force behind the scenes