07/11/13 — Boys take home prizes for essays

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Boys take home prizes for essays

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on July 11, 2013 1:46 PM


For the first time since its inception, the Wayne County Abstinence Essay Contest winners were all male.

At the Board of Health meeting on Wednesday, Ta-Kisha Darden announced the winners of the contest to the board and those in attendance.

First place went to Tyrek Shepard, a rising freshman at North Carolina State University, while second place went to Alec Linton of Country View Academy and third place went to Halen Sykes of Wayne Early Middle High School.

Shepard received a $1,000 scholarship, while Linton received $500 and Sykes received $300. Each received a gift card, and Shepard read his essay in front of the board.

Shepard's essay began with a quote from the movie "Mean Girls," which reads "Don't have sex because you will get pregnant and die," and said this was often the only warning many teenagers receive concerning premarital sex.

His essay argued that the threat of teenage pregnancy alone should be sufficient reason for abstinence and explained how pursuing premarital sex while using contraceptives can lead to allergic reactions to condoms or hormonal imbalances, mood swings and fluctuation in weight due to birth control.

"Teenage girls are constantly concerned with their weight, and if abstinence can prevent weight gain, who would not want to participate?" Shepard said, reading from his essay.

The essay closed by arguing that while the temptation of sex may be hard to overcome, it is possible and that abstinence is the only way to prevent teenage pregnancy.

Linton's essay said that "A lot of teens feel they have to have sex because it's cool. All my other friends are doing it, my parents don't want me to, so I'm going to do it anyway."

His essay also focused on sexually transmitted diseases in addition to practicing abstinence. The essay also used statistical evidence pointing out that women ages 15-19 aren't physically able to bear a child, with 529,000 fatalities resulting from pregnancies in that age range every year, and minimum wage workers being unable to afford a child, making only $7,540 per year and the average cost of raising a child being $11,000 per year.

Sykes' essay discussed the implications of teenage sex and pregnancy being glorified by shows like "16 and Pregnant" and "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." He said these shows make the girls famous for being pregnant teenagers and romanticizes the worst consequences of pregnancy.