THP Project Purple Initiative: WESTFORD, MA
Streams of purple sprinkled throughout a sea of maroon and white as graduating Westford Academy seniors walked across the stage at graduation last spring.
The purple cords that draped from 25 or so graduation robes signified the graduating seniors who were proudly part of Westford Academy’s THP Project Purple Initiative and emphasized yet another THP Project Purple moment put forth by Westford Academy since the school launched the program in 2012.
“The students are proud to be part of the THP Project Purple Initiative. They asked if they could have purple cords. I thought it was great,” said Melanie Jozokos, Westford Academy’s veteran health/wellness teacher, who directs the school’s THP Project Purple Initiative.
Since the THP Project Purple Initiative launched at the school in 2012 more than 300 of the 1700 Westford students have taken the Pledge. The number continues to increase as does awareness around the THP Project Purple initiative.
In an effort to launch THP Project Purple initiative successfully at Westford Academy, Jozokos said the goal was to start out slowly. Now, Westford Academy, which has welcomed Chris Herren twice, holds THP Project Purple weekly meetings and hosts a variety of outings to provide an alternative to attending parties. In just three years, Westford Academy’s THP Project Purple Initiative has more than 300 members and six staff members involved, including a stipend position and involvement from a dean of students.
The goal is to continue to increase participation and awareness and engage students at an earlier level. They have already begun the first steps towards their goals.
Last spring Westford Academy’s team of nearly 35 THP Project Purple members hosted a presentation for the 456 eighth graders at a nearby middle school that feeds into Westford Academy. The program highlighted the THP Project Purple Initiative. When those eighth graders entered Westford Academy as freshman this past fall, they were already aware of THP Project Purple. Several immediately took the THP Project Purple Pledge.
“I think we are changing the tide. The message is getting out there. They don’t have to go to parties to be cool,” said Jozokos. “It’s okay to be me.”
GOOD ENOUGH. PURPLE. PROUD.