The Freshman Academy took advantage of a unique opportunity to imagine their futures, for better or for worse last week. At the Fifth Annual Teen Maze, a Morgan County 4-H event designed to demonstrate the dire consequences of poor life choices, students visited various stations acting out real-life scenarios teenagers with which teenagers are commonly confronted. Teens explored the possible outcomes of drug-use, underage drinking, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, distracted driving, sexual activity, and peer pressure during the all-day event last Friday. Volunteers acted out various worst-case scenario outcomes, such as contracting an STD, being arrested, and dying in a gruesome car accident. The event also provided some financial training, walking students through house and car purchases based on particular salaries earned and figuring out how much their monthly bills would amount to based on those factors. Suicide prevention and mental health literature was also provided to students during the event.
“I think it gives them an opportunity to see potential consequences in a safe environment,” said Shannon Cagle, county extension program assistant for 4-H. “They experience things they haven’t yet thought about and wouldn’t think about in a quick moment. But if they have had some time to think about these scenarios because it’s laid out in front of them like this, then maybe they can process some these consequences and make the right decision if they ever find themselves in these situations.”
Organizers of the event worried this year’s Teen Maze event would be hampered by the ongoing construction of the new schools.
“We thought there would be some challenges this year with all the construction going on, but all our community partners pulled together and the event went off flawlessly,” said Cagle.