Project P.R.I.D.E inmates share inspirational messages with SPFHS students


Sophia Iacona

Photo courtesy of of a P.R.I.D.E presentation. SPFHS students were not allowed to take photos during the assembly.
SCOTCH PLAINS—-On Monday, March 15, Scotch Plains Fanwood High School welcomed prisoners from the PRIDE program to speak to the sophomore and junior classes about the importance of making the correct decisions.
The Project P.R.I.D.E program, which stands for promoting responsibility in drug education, provides students in New Jersey with the opportunity to listen to the personal stories of minimum custody offenders from state correctional facilities. The four inmates who spoke at the assembly carried similar themes throughout their speeches. They emphasized the importance of choosing friends wisely and listening to your parents and role model figures.
The presentation was sobering for many students. “It was really touching to here the inmate’s stories and understand how much they struggled but how important for them it was to change their life around,” junior Kayla Reisberg said.
Currently 19,453 people are incarcerated in NJ. Although being apart of the P.R.I.D.E program does not cut down on time served, the program is just one rehabilitation process that helps inmates reflect on their past decisions and turn their prior bad choices into positive messages.
The P.R.I.D.E program is invited to come and speak once a year at the high school, and the junior class was specifically excited for this year’s presentation because the assembly was cancelled for the class the year prior.
Overall, the P.R.I.D.E program speakers’ provided students with positive messages about overcoming struggles and making smart decisions to reach certain goals and dreams. Many students walked away with a new perspective, and will remember the presenter’s stories when making decisions in the future.