One bad decision can change the course of a life. That’s the lesson Morgan County High School juniors learned last Friday at the eighth annual Teen Maze event.
The Teen Maze is a 4-H event designed to demonstrate the dire consequences of poor life choices. Each year students visit various stations acting out real-life scenarios with which teenagers are commonly confronted. Teens explore the possible outcomes of drug-use, underage drinking, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, distracted driving, and sexual activity.
This year, the event was limited to MCHS juniors due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Due to COVID and the demands that it has placed on our community partners, they are putting on a modified version for just our juniors, most of whom have started driving, this year. It will include a crash scene and then an Emergency Room scene in our auditorium,” explained MCHS Principal Dr. Miki Edwards. “There will be many emergency vehicles here today as a part of this. The program has always been about reminding students that choices they make can have serious consequences.”
Volunteers acted out various worst-case scenario outcomes, such as contracting an STD, being arrested, and dying in a gruesome car accident.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and Madison Police Department provided emergency vehicles and even a helicopter for the dramatized tragic events.
“Thank you to everyone who aided in making Teen Maze another success this year for the Junior class of Morgan County High School. A hard but worthy effort,” said a statement from the Madison Police Department.
Teen Maze was created to provide a safe environment to witness the potential consequences of reckless behavior. Organizers hope the Teen Maze will give high schoolers the opportunity to consider life-altering decisions to think ahead before they actually face such decisions in real-life. The event combines the goals of The Youth Development Strategy, The Drug and Alcohol Free Youth Strategy and Teen Pregnancy and STD Prevention Strategy.
According to Velde Hardy, coordinator for Family Connection, students wander through a maze of “bad decisions” to see the possible consequences of making similar decisions, such as drinking and driving, using drugs, dropping out of school, unplanned pregnancies, or having unprotected sex.
“We are fortunate to live in a community where so many local agencies care about our students enough to take valuable time to put together so impactful. This is a great place to be,” said Edwards.