This could be You
9th graders taught valuable “Game of Life” lessons
The “Game of Life” became reality for 9th graders in Polk School District as they were guided through an interactive experience at Polk/Haralson Christian Life Center (Camp Antioch), located at 3900 Antioch Road, Cedartown.
Students were transported by bus to the site from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4-5. They were given opportunity to learn how to face consequences of randomly selected lifestyle choices associated with risky youth behaviors in a safe and controlled environment. Individuals could examine the decisions they make in a hands-on, realistic and educational way.
More than 200 volun- teers helped each individual through a maze that presented different scenarios and related consequences. The goal of organizers was to increase each participant’s understanding of personal responsibility and the importance of making positive life choices.
During the 2015 Teen Maze, students were presented information by professionals on the subjects of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, sexual activity, pregnancy, child care, career selection and a job search, just to name a few.
Bernice Vasquez, program coordinator of Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer coalition, welcomed youth to a place of education about how decisions regarding tobacco and related products could become a health hazard.
“They could see how a teen choice can impact health and the fact that a life altering disease could be prevented,” she said.
One student reading material about cancer noted, “I won’t be smoking if this is what I could face.”
Jennifer Lipham and Catherine Casey, volunteers, showed Drew Spencer and Cameron Ingle, Rockmart High School, how to care for babies. The students seemed surprised when they learned the time and care involved in providing basic infant needs.
“This has been a learning experience for me,” Spencer said.
Meanwhile, other students were seeking information about college and what decisions they will make before and after graduation.
Makayla Wilson and Avery Hitchock talked with Tommy Baker, GED instructor at Georgia Northwestern Technical College, and Marquita Deorsey, GNTC Student Affairs Assistant.
Baker said it was his first time to take part in the annual Teen Maze and he hopes to be involved in the one next year. “I have seen genuine interest from students about their future educational choices,” he said.
Conversations were interrupted by sounds of anguish as a group of volunteers rushed from a mock experience (car crash with injuries) to an emergency room.
An adult was being held back from the active scene where a youth lay. Second year nursing students from Georgia Highland College asked the crowd to move back so they could try to save the accident victim.
The look on the faces of the students gave evidence they were caught up in the moment of learning and the fact this could happen to him or her if they were injured in a car crash.
“We want everyone to realize that an accident isn’t something that is only dramatized on a television show,” said one volunteer.
To assist with the reality were volunteers from Redmond: Marty Robinson, Frank Matthews, and Heather Penno.
Students were reminded that driving with any distraction could be deadly. Participants were encouraged to think about the people “you ride with . . . it could be your last one.”
Information provided revealed warning signs that peers could be using drugs: Not caring about appearance, dropping grades, missed classes, losing interest in favorite activities, different sleeping or eating habits, more problems with family and friends.
Each student com- pleting the 2015 Teen Maze was presented a diploma. When Greg Teems made the presentation to Canaan Smith, she smiled and said it was a great experience.
Polk Family Connection and collaborative partners presented the event.
Rhonda Heuer, Polk Family Connection, said the goal of the event is that the teens realize that decisions they make now could end up with them being parents, having a life-long STD, losing their life or being instrumental in someone else losing their life.
“Many negative experiences can be prevented by making wise choices,” she said.
Marty Robinson, Redmond, was a volunteer during the 2015 Teen Maze. He views vehicles damaged in a ‘crash scene’ designed to teach students the dangers of distractions like texting or talking on the phone while driving.
Nursing students from Georgia Highland College, volunteers, worked to save the life of a youth injured in a mock automobile accident.
Each student completing the 2015 Teen Maze was presented a diploma. Greg Teems made the presentation to Canaan Smith, who said the event was a great experience.