Guest speaker Jason Evert of the Chastity Project does not give the typical abstinence talk that your parents probably heard years ago when they were in high school, and for good reason. The scare tactics synonymous with school presentations about sex simply do not work, he admitted to students at the opening of his whole-school presentation.
Jason Evert uses social media outlets like Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter to effectively connect with his youthful audience.
Instead, Evert uses a unique style of delivery, combining his faith, insightful facts and a refreshing frankness that resonates with teens. So much so that a pair of seniors who had heard his talk before and related to his message felt compelled to offer a small gesture of kindness.
“Victoria and I introduced ourselves before the presentation to make Mr. Evert feel welcomed, and we also wanted to welcome him into our faith community,” said Catherine Grady '15. She and Victoria Thornton '15 (pictured above) are both members of F.L.I.G.H.T.
After the interaction Evert took the stage and spoke in front of a receptive audience of CJ students in the auditorium the morning of September 16, not long after talking with students at Carroll High School. He also made stops at Fenwick, Lehman Catholic and a few area parishes on his visit to Dayton.
“We’ve shown our freshman and senior religion classes an abstinence education video of Jason and his then-fiance, Crystalina, so we knew his presentation had been received very positively in the past,” said Dr. Tim Dillon, teacher and religion department chair. “I felt like the live presentation is even better.”
The 39-year-old professional speaker and author shared a few of the latest statistics on sex. Roughly a third of U.S. high school students said they were sexually inactive and a majority reported being virgins, according to Evert. The two-thirds of high schoolers who had had sex admitted that they wished they would've waited longer, he said.
“Jason is able to to hit more topics in one presentation at a pace that’d be very difficult to match in the classroom,” Dr. Dillon said.
Among other topics discussed, Evert addressed societal pressures placed on teens by visual stimuli, cultural trends, music, and other popular forms of media. These pressures lead to misconceptions about “manhood” in boys, double standards for girls, false expectations of beauty, and a devaluation of marriage, he said.
“Know that if you hope to marry someone you are promising to love and cherish one person for the rest of your life,” Evert told students.
“Respect yourself out of respect for your future spouse,” he said. Evert cautioned all students to practice modesty and protect their own dignity, adding that it’s never too late to change behaviors.
The assembly was intentionally scheduled just a few days ahead of Homecoming Weekend -- celebrated at CJ September 19 and 20, 2014 -- in order to spread the message to all, Dr. Dillon said.
CJ’s next whole-school speaker presentation is Thursday, Oct. 16 and features Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Catholic motivational speaker who survived genocide in Rwanda.
ABOUT GUEST SPEAKER JASON EVERT
Jason Evert has traveled to six continents to bring the message of chastity to more than one million people over the past 15 years, including World Youth Day in Spain and Australia. Jason earned a master’s degree in Theology, and undergraduate degrees in Counseling and Theology, with a minor in Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is a best-selling author of more than 10 books, including Theology of the Body for Teens, Saint John Paul the Great, and How to Find Your Soulmate without Losing Your Soul. He and his wife Crystalina are frequent guests on radio programs throughout the country, and their television appearances include MSNBC, Fox News, the BBC, and EWTN. Together, they lead an international alliance of young people who promote chastity in more than 40 countries. Read more at http://chastityproject.com/.