Hi! I’m Jackson Lee, and I see myself as a typical 18-year-old senior in high school. Well, maybe not that typical. You see, I’m also a professional race car driver in the Road to Indy driving in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. My ultimate goal is to reach INDYCAR and the Indianapolis 500 in the next few years. And while you may think that you have nothing in common with a professional racecar driver, I’m really just a normal high school student.
Just like any high school student, I’ve been put in tough situations that could change my life forever. I have been working hard for the past 10 years to reach my goal of becoming an INDYCAR driver. But just one mistake, could ruin my chances of reaching my dream. In fact, it could ruin my entire life. Making a bad decision could also put an end to my career before I have a chance to reach my goals. That’s why I’m making the decision to say NO to underage drinking.
Since I understand that the severe consequences that even one bad decision can lead to, I want to help others be responsible and make the right choice to say no to underage drinking, and make sure that the people around me who are of legal drinking age never drive drunk. That’s why this Alcohol Responsibility Month, I am partnering with Responsibility.org to help teens like me make smart decisions.
When I am driving a race car at over 140 MPH, I have to be able to make calculated, split-second decisions to keep myself and the other drivers safe. It’s the same when I find myself in situations where I am feeling any kind of peer pressure. I have to make a calculated decisions about how—and why— I am going to say NO. I’ve said things like, “No, thanks,” and “No, I can’t. I have too much to lose.”
It’s exactly the same for you too. Besides being illegal, drinking alcohol underage affects how you think, your reaction times, and even how you talk and behave. It can lead to more bad decisions that can put you and the lives of others at risk. You can end up in jail, or worse. It’s just not worth it. I know it can be very hard to say NO. But I also know that you can do it, and reaching your goals is more important than giving in to negative peer pressure and drinking alcohol.
Spring is one of my favorite seasons. Not only because it’s the start of racing season, but because it’s prom and graduation time too. I know it can be tempting for teens to drink and party to celebrate, but there are other ways to have fun and you can absolutely celebrate without engaging in risky behaviors like underage drinking. I enjoy playing basketball, driving go-karts, and hanging out and playing cards with my buddies. For me it’s about making great memories that last a lifetime.
So, saying no to underage drinking has helped me make a ton of great memories and given me the ability to pursue my dream. I’ve enjoyed so many amazing opportunities and experiences that wouldn’t have happened if I had made the decision of drinking alcohol underage. It could have ruined my chances of achieving my goal of driving professionally.
Everyone has a dream. Mine is racing. What’s yours? I believe that if you work hard, don’t ever quit, and make good decisions (like saying NO to underage drinking) you can make your dreams happen too, just like I am.
It’s been great to meet you!
Read more about Responsibility.org here.