Health band, The Love Drugs, performs their drug rap about Ecstasy.Photo By Jessica Baum

On July 12, a group of about 23 rising sophomores took to the stage in the ETHS Little Theater. These health students, divided into six groups or “bands,” were ready to teach the students in the auditorium below.

The Drug Educational Musical Presentations (DEMP) have been put on every semester (fall, spring and summer) by Montell Wilburn’s health class.

Students from each of his classes are divided into “bands.” They pick a name and are assigned an illicit substance to write a skit and a song parody to perform for their peers.

Mr. Wilburn came up with the idea for DEMPs four years ago while putting together a lesson plan that involved students making PowerPoint presentations. “I got bored with PowerPoints,” Mr. Wilburn said. “I wanted to do something different.”

Though the DEMP is a musical presentation, Mr. Wilburn said, students are not judged on the music. “[The presentation] encourages students to step outside their comfort zone,” he said. “It’s about becoming something more than they believe they are.”

Five judges, who consist of peers, teachers and faculty chosen by Mr. Wilburn, judge the students on clarity, distinctiveness, stage presence, and whether the band effectively conveyed knowledge of their drug to the audience. Judges score students by giving them a platinum record (highest) to a bronze record (lowest).   

The auditorium was packed for the two summer school performances (the first at 8:30 a.m., the second at 11:35 a.m.)Bands like “Da Munchies” and ”Opiod Noise” took the stage and sang catchy parodies of popular rap songs. The audience cheered and laughed, and supported the performers on stage when
they forgot the lyrics.

Mr. Wilburn’s students will get another chance to teach their greater Evanston-Skokie community about health on July 28, when they host their second annual health fair.

The class’s job, Mr. Wilburn said, is “to teach others how to be well.” This health fair will be run by the students who will teach the community about basic disease prevention, CPR, nutrition, and many other aspects for staying healthy. Students will bring in “experts,” such as yoga instructors and stress management professionals.

Mr. Wilburn said this fair not only teaches students presentation and leadership skills, but also shows them the impact they can have on the community.  “They can be more than just a student,” he said. “They can be part of the community.”

The health fair will be in G170 at ETHS. Two sessions will be held, one from 9-10 a.m., and another from Noon – 1 p.m. on July 28. Food and refreshments will be provided.