This year, four new seventh graders were recruited to join Leland and Gray’s Above the Influence (ATI) group. “ATI is a national campaign inspiring groups of young people to form all over the country to raise awareness about how to stay above the negative influences they encounter in their lives. The group focuses on providing education regarding the negative impact of substance use and inspires people to make healthy choices through fun activities”.

The Leland and Gray ATI students participate in and host a number of positive activities and events throughout the school year. The first event of the season is always the Edge of Leadership training for new recruits (and sometimes older members who just couldn’t get enough!) This weekend-long training is held at the High Five Adventure Learning Center in Brattleboro; ATI students from across Windham County schools attend. Over the course of the weekend, students hiked through the woods to participate in two extreme ropes courses. Students developed both teamwork and leadership skills while guiding and supporting each other through the various jumps, climbs and drops. These challenges required them to think critically and problem solve as a team. While it was a chilly weekend (complete with snow on our second day!), students from all over the county were able to get to know each other and discuss why they choose to be a part of such a group. A wide variety of topics were covered in afternoon debrief sessions and many new ideas were generated by these youth community leaders.

The Leland and Gray ATI group looks forward to its next event, Sticker Shock, during which students will spend the day visiting local alcohol retailers and plastering their alcohol-related products with stickers that warn adults not to sell or give alcohol to minors. We are fortunate that our local store owners have always been welcoming of our local ATI group and excited about having us come each year!


  • Jeremy Schrauf

    I see former Math Olympiad competitors in this photo and I’m not surprised that they are on the path to leadership. Great group!!!

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