Originally created 02/04/03

Valentine's Day can be tough for some teens



It's coming.

The day when teens receive romantic gifts from significant others. Little candy hearts with cute sayings and chocolates will be everywhere.

At many local schools, clubs and other organizations will hand out carnations to pre-selected sweethearts.

Some hearts will swell, others will break.

Call it the Valentine's Day hazard -- being the one without the sweetheart on that special day.

"Not having a boyfriend on Valentine's Day sucks. All you think about all day is not having a boyfriend, and the guy that you do like, when you see all your friends with their boyfriends," said Krystal Harger, a junior at Evans High School.

So what do students think of the carnation programs, which are designed as fund-raisers?

"I think it makes people feel bad if they don't get carnations," said Hillary Lentz, a junior at Augusta Preparatory Day School. "They also tend to be bad jokes, like for instance, people send carnations out of sympathy."

But for some students, the pink-and-red flowers are a welcome change to a mundane school day.

"Sending carnations is just a way of showing affection," said Thomas Folk, a junior at Augusta Preparatory Schools. "It doesn't hurt people."

"With teenagers, everything becomes a crisis," said Carol Rountree, the director of the Guidance, Research and Testing Department for Richmond County schools. "It hasn't created a real stressful situation. Of course, some do get a little upset when they don't get them."

If it's fresh flowers you want, though, the carnation programs are your best bet.

Schools in Columbia and Aiken counties generally discourage outside floral deliveries, even on Valentine's Day.

"It just becomes too disruptive of the academic day," said Charles Nagle, assistant superintendent for Columbia County schools.

According to Justin Martin, director of public information for Richmond County schools, the board has no policy on the books restricting outside deliveries, but schools do discourage them.

Dr. Rountree said it's not hurt feelings that are the main concern. "The front offices just get overwhelmed," he said.

So, is there hope for the heartbroken on Valentine's Day?

Sure.

"People get caught up on (it) because it's a holiday," Krystal said. "The day is all about love. It's not all about boyfriend-girlfriend love, it's also about the other people you love, like your friends and family."

"Just grab a friend and get some won ton soup," said Aubrey Nazzaro, a senior at Lakeside High School in Evans.

THE HISTORY OF VALENTINE'S DAY:

Although the history is somewhat murky, most people believe that Valentine's Day originated in third-century Rome, when the emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage because he thought single men made better soldiers.

Valentine, a priest who thought the new law was an injustice, performed secret marriages.

It seemed love had won, until Claudius discovered the plot, and ordered Valentine put to death.

According to legend, it was Valentine who actually sent the first "valentine" greeting, to a young girl he had fallen in love with.

Some say we celebrate it on Feb. 14 because that was the day Valentine was either killed or buried. Others say that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to "Christianize" celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival.

Pope Gelasius declared Feb. 14 St. Valentine's Day in 498 A.D.

Source: Historychannel.com

Teen Board members Abby Oakley, Patrick Johnson and Camden Morgante contributed to this article.

Reach Jennifer Hilliard at (706) 823-3223 or jennifer.hilliard@augustachronicle.com.



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