Pictured from left to right:  Barb Harpster (Media Consultant, Altoona Mirror), Joe Meadows (Partner, The Meadows Original Frozen Custard of Hollidaysburg), Holly Myers (Essay Contest Winner), Fred Imler Jr. (President, Imler’s Poultry)

Congratulations to Holly Myers, a 6th grader at Spring Cove Middle School, whose essay was chosen out of 57 entries as the winner of the Altoona Mirror and Operation Our Town Essay Contest!

The winner received $250 in gift cards to The Meadows Original Frozen Custard in Hollidaysburg.  Co-sponsors of the Essay Contest were the Altoona Mirror, Imler’s Poultry, and The Meadows Original Frozen Custard in Hollidaysburg.

See below to view her winning essay on why people give in to peer pressure from those who use drugs and some of the best ways to avoid giving in to peer pressure:

Peer pressure can be the reason why people give into drugs. Some feel lonely or have very low self-esteem in themselves. They feel drugs could be a way to make the hurt stop. Many see family members and friends do drugs and feel influenced, thinking it is okay to use them. Wanting to be in the “IN” crowd can be a factor as well. People will also try drugs not thinking about the consequences in the future and just want to have fun in the moment.

Peer pressure can be prevented in many different ways. Being a supportive friend to others that are going through tough times and finding yourself the same kind of supportive companion can be helpful in prevention. Keeping yourself busy with extracurricular activities is another way to avoid low self-esteem, which leads to peer pressure. Facing peer pressure is hard but it can be avoided by talking to a trusted adult, parent, or guardian. When a crowd of kids asks you to do drugs, think about the consequences of the future. Say NO to peer pressure and say YES to a drug free future.