Bus Encourages Kids to Make Smart Choice about School

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Updated: Wed, 25 Sep 2013 09:53:31 EST

Learning went outside the classroom at Bloomfield Middle School Tuesday. The "Choice Bus" rolled onto campus. The bus travels across the country teaching students making the right choices and the consequences of wrong ones.

Bloomfield Middle School students Benjiman Lowery and Destiny Jackson have dreams of becoming an architect and journalist.

The Choice Bus attempts to make those dreams a reality. The bus is operated by the Mattie C. Stewart foundation and travels to schools across the country. 

"We're peaking to students about the importance of staying in school and the importance of making good choices," said Charmaine Brown of the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation.

It's an important lesson. In Macon, statistics show more than half the students won't complete high school and that's a choice these young scholars will soon face.

"A critical age for our students is grade sixth through eighth," said Bloomfield Middle School principal Shannon Norfleet. "It's a time of their lives where they can start to make bad decisions but we hope they will make good decisions."

The most immediate decision will be staying in school. A student's decision to drop out of school usually starts in middle school.

"We start talking about education and how much money they can make simply by graduating high school or even more by getting college degrees," said Brown.

Students are shown that if they graduate college, they can pocket a million dollars more over their lifetime than if they quit.

"That's very persuasive," said Lowery.

The students also get a first-hand reminder of what can happen if they don't finish school. The back of the bus contains a prison cell. Statistics show about 75 percent of high school dropouts end up in prison.

"It's a bad place and it's not very clean," said Jackson after seeing the proximity of the toilet to the bunk.

"It really brings everything home, it gives them a tangible example of one possible consequence of not making good choices," said Brown. "It doesn't matter what your grades are or how impressive your resume is if your constantly, constantly making bad choices.

The "Choice Bus" will be in Bibb county the rest of the week making stops at Howard Middle School Wednesday, Rutland Middle School on Thursday, and Ballard Hudson Middle School on Friday.

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