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2006 Abstinence Essay Contest 1st Place

Brandy Hardison, a recent graduate from Charles B. Aycock High School is presented with 1st place by Kristin Mcintosh-Tri of the Wayne County Health Department Health Education Program. Brandy will be using her scholarship while attending Meredith College starting this fall (2006). She will be Majoring in Mass Communications.

She received a $1000 college scholarship, $200 gift certificate to Berkeley Mall, $5 gift certificate to McDonalds, a T-Shirt that says "I'm worth waiting for", and a certificate of Recognition for 1st Place.

Abstinence - The Sure Way to Prevent Pregnancy

While there is no question that we are receiving more pressure than ever to give up our purity for a false understanding of what love is - in a generation that sees no problem with` expressing affection through sexual activity - the ultimate responsibility for our safety, education, health, and direction in life is up to us.

My generation is surrounded by immoral activity from all sides: television, internet; magazines, movies, song lyrics and even in peers. Immorality is depicted as "cool", never showing the consequences of our choices; only glamorizing the immoral conduct. Life doesn't have to be so complicated, there once was a time of innocence. Our country has been promoting birth control and "safe" sex for years now; yet, America leads the free world in teenage pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. I feel there is an even better solution to all of these problems. Sure, many people view it as old fashioned or even an implausible way of life. I feel, though, that it is very possible to be popular, to have fun and to have a boyfriend without having sex, for I am living proof. The solution l practice is sexual abstinence. One-tenth of young woman between 15 and 19 get pregnant every year, 83% of these pregnancies are unwanted or unplanned. Over half of unmarried teens who get pregnant do so within six months of their first sexual experience.

The statistics are scary, but the only reliable method to prevent such unwanted pregnancies is abstinence, it's the 100% advantage that many teenagers decline to call their form of protection, l choose abstinence, because I am not ready to have a baby. Having a child would alter the plan for my life that's already embedded in my mind. I'm 17, unmarried, and l have a world of opportunity out there waiting just for me. Why would l want to mess that up by having sex with a guy who says he loves me, yet is forcing me to choose between him and my future goals? It is often said that teenagers use the physical aspect of a relationship to receive the emotional part. Is the emotional part really worth worrying every single month that you're going to get pregnant and your parents are going to find out? No, in my opinion, it is not.

My generation can not continue on this life-style roller coaster. With pregnancy rates growing all across the nation, more people have to speak up and teach young people that it is okay to say no to sexual activity. Again, it is the only sure way not to become pregnant. I feel very strongly regarding this issue, so strongly that on my path to obtain the Miss North Carolina crown, I have chosen to take a stand against teenage or unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and the physical and emotional stress that sexual activity can cause. I have built my platform around Abstinence: The Pure Promise. My hope is to reach out to my peers and speak to them regarding this very serious issue - To make a promise to remain sexually abstinent - preventing unwanted pregnancies.

I view my virginity as a gift to my future husband. I don't know him yet, but I know he's going to be deserving of my love and for my waiting for him.... and all those punk guys I dated in high school will not come close in comparison. I choose to be sexually abstinent for the health and happiness of myself, my parents, my future husband, and my future children. I do this because I have set high standards for the way I live my life. l have made the pure promise.