Arcanum Mayor proclaims We Are The Majority Awareness Week

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Milliard proclaimed the week of April 10 to April 14 as WATM Awareness Week in the Village. Gaylen Blosser photo.

ARCANUM—Mayor of Arcanum Bonnie Milliard stopped by the Arcanum High School on Thursday afternoon to celebrate the students in the Arcanum We Are The Majority (WATM) club.

Milliard also proclaimed the week of April 10, 2023 to April 14, 2023 as WATM Awareness Week in Arcanum.

Milliard proclaimed the week of April 10 to April 14 as WATM Awareness Week in the Village. Gaylen Blosser photo.

WATM is an after-school leadership program organized by the state.

The program is open to high school and middle school students throughout the county. Students are encouraged young people to live drug, alcohol and tobacco-free.

WATM started at Arcanum in 2013.

“We’ve been coming in every year, and doing a proclamation,” Marcus Ballinger, Arcanum Police Chief said. “We talk to the kids about keeping themselves safe, keeping themselves off of drugs.”

During the assembly, the local leaders reiterated the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Ballinger said all of the students in the program are very positive.

“They know the way to move forward,” he said. “They know what they want out of life. We need more of that. We need the whole school, one day, in the gymnasium with everyone here, while the Mayor signs the proclamation.”

Smith (R) and Mayor Milliard. Gaylen Blosser photo.

Megan Smith, Prevention Specialist and Student Success Liaison, who oversees the club, said WATM allows students to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

“I’m so proud of them,” Smith said. “This is a huge program. This is nationwide. We have a huge WATM rally in Columbus, and there are thousands of kids that attend. It’s bigger than just here. They are part of something that’s huge. It’s just a growing, wonderful thing.”

Mayor Milliard said the program means the world to her, and the Village.

She added that she’d also like the chapter to keep expanding.

“I love the kids,” she said. “The group last year was larger than this year. They had some turnover in their personnel, so I can understand that it will be bigger next year.”

In addition to signing the proclamation,  she encouraged students to reach out to their peers and join the club.

Gaylen Blosser photo.

However, she recognized it can be a touchy subject for students.

“I’m sure it’s difficult for them,” she said. “I hope they continue to enlarge the group. We’ll be here next year.”

Jason Vince, Arcanum Middle School Principal, said he believes today’s youth are exposed to more than any generation, but is excited for the club’s continued expansion.

“There’s strength in numbers,” he said. “Our group this year is reaching out to our fifth and sixth grade classes. We’re trying to grow the program. The fifth and sixth graders are staying after school to be a part of this. We’re looking forward to what the future holds.”