Teen Maze shows students consequences of bad choices

Published 7:12 pm Thursday, October 26, 2017

Local high school freshmen were reminded Wednesday and Thursday that poor decisions could have lifelong consequences during day one of Teen Maze, a local program from the United Way, the city of LaGrange, Twin Cedars and the Troup County Health Department.

Students from Callaway High School, Troup High School and LaGrange High School were shown the dangers of alcohol, drugs, sexually activity and distracted driving.

“Our goal is to get them to think, and hopefully something we are doing will cause them to think,” said TiShari McFarland, coordinator of Teen Maze. “We have students who have gone through Teen Maze come back and volunteer. They remember certain things about what happened when they were here. Hopefully what we’re doing sticks to their memory.”

Teen Maze took place at Callaway Conference Center, but several of the activities were outside. Students were shown a mock wreck scene, which was caused by a drunk driver. The drunk driver was taken into custody, while first responders dealt with the aftermath of a chaotic scene involving a motorcycle and a severely injured motorist.

Following that, each student had a chance to drive a golf cart around a road course set up by road cones. The students either wore goggles simulating drunk driving or tried to text and drive.

“They think the goggles are cool, that they can actually drive,” said Cpl. Wesley Engle with the LaGrange Police Department. “Then they put them on and say ‘I can’t see.’ That’s the impact we want. We want the teenagers to be safe. We don’t want them driving impaired, we don’t want them texting, we don’t want them on their phones. It’s for their own safety.”

Many of the students ran right through the road cones. Students that failed to correctly drive the course were either sent to a mock funeral or jail.

“They think it can happen, but they don’t think it can happen to them,” said volunteer Samantha Jakicic. “It can happen to anyone. Like this accident, they may look at it and think it’s silly, but truly it can happen to anybody.”

Other parts of the program simulated what being pregnant in high school would be like and also shared the dangers of STDs.

“A lot of times teens don’t feel comfortable asking these questions,” McFarland said.

“We are talking about sex, we are talking about contraception, so we have nurses here to give them real information so they can actually get answers if they want them.”

Between 600-700 students were expected to participate in Teen Maze Wednesday and Thursday.