High school students in Effingham Co. experience life-changing ‘teen maze’

Published: Apr. 10, 2019 at 6:58 PM EDT
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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - High school students in Effingham County got to experience a teen maze right before prom season.

Its purpose is to raise awareness about teen pregnancy, drinking and driving, drug use, and STD’s. Participants say it was beneficial.

Tenth Grade students were able to get a real life experience that helped them see how their decisions can not only affect them, but also other people.

“Teen Maze was an idea that I brought to Effingham County six years ago because we saw it in other counties and we were trying to figure out how to make an impact to a large amount of kids without them having to actually make these bad decisions," said social worker, Erin Woodcock, Effingham County School Board.

Woodcock says the scenarios and activities students experience are as real as it gets.

“We picked the areas that affect our health district the most, and teen pregnancy, STD’s, drinking and driving, and drug use - all those areas that we covered in our maze are specific to our county and problems we’re seeing in our children," she said.

For one student, the experience was one of a kind.

“It made me think about it more. Just a minute ago, we were looking at a casket and I was actually getting a little scared for a minute because I was like ‘what if I die soon or something?' It just makes you think,” said Sophomore, Damon Nutting.

Speaker Donna Collins spends her time warning students, sharing her son Dalton’s life-changing decision after his high school soccer banquet.

“He attended a party and left one house, stumbled to another house, and participated in funneling, but in this case, the teenagers poured a bottle of liquor into the funnel," Collins said.

He never made it back home.

“Dalton spent graduation day and night in a morgue in Savannah in a body bag, and not in is red graduation gown."

Collins hopes students will realize that anything can happen to anyone at anytime.

“None of us are the same. There’s always an empty seat and an emptiness that doesn’t go away, and everyday, it’s been almost six years that I haven’t shed a tear for what could’ve been, and I watch my other children struggle.”

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